The end of basketball season is drawing near and for the Cassville Wildcats it has already come. The Wildcats ended the year with a record of 8-18 (2-5), but despite the disappointing year, Cassville did improve in some key areas.
"We made several improvements both as a team and individually through the course of the season," said Coach Randy Robertson.
The Wildcats scored 2 more points a game this year, increased their free-throw percentage by four percentage points and had two more assists per game. The 'Cats also tied for fifth this year in the Big 8 in comparison to last year's seventh place finish.
Senior Tim Orrell led the way for the Wildcats this year. scoring the team high 13 points per night and averaging two treys and two steals each game.
Junior Kelby Haynes also played a key role for Cassville this season, averaging 12 points and six rebounds per game. Dannon Rose also did well, hitting 55 percent of all his shots for an average of 5 points per game. He also grabbed six rebounds per game and knocked out an average of two steals per game, which is terrific for a post player.
Other contributors for the Wildcats were: Chris Born, 3 points per game, five rebounds per game and two steals per game; Clint Reed, 8 points per game, 77 percent from the free-throw line, two steals per game and two assists per game; Cory Howard, 6 points per contest 75 percent from the free-throw line, and one steal per game; Ryan Schlichtman, 4 points per game, 78 percent from the line, two rebounds and one steal per game; Marcus Henry, 1 point per game and 73 percent from the field; and Ethan Couch, 2 points per game and three rebounds.
As a whole, Cassville's best attribute was defense. The Wildcats kept their opponents off the offensive glass, giving up only nine offensive rebounds per game, and always put pressure on the ball, forcing an average of 16 turnovers per game. Cassville also had the ability to put their opponents into foul trouble, drawing an average of 16 fouls.
However, there are also areas in which the Wildcats will focus this off-season. Cassville grabbed only nine offensive rebounds per game, turned the ball over an average of 17 times and fouled an average of 16. Cassville's opponents out-shot them from the field, outscored them by a margin of 7 and averaged 30 rebounds against the 'Cats.
Cassville's forwards did a nice job this year by accounting for 25 percent of all Cassville's steals. They also kept their fouls to a minimum, totaling only 36 percent of the Wildcats total. However, they had trouble consistently getting the rebound, as it was Cassville's guards who brought down the majority, 39 percent, of all of them.
The Wildcats' junior class accounted for the majority in almost every statistical category this year, which proves just how young this Wildcat team was.
Cassville's two seniors accounted for 60 percent of the team's three-point field goals on the year, leaving the home team with a much smaller threat next year from long range. Cassville's sophomore class also struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 42 percent of their shots there.
As far as starters and bench went, Cassville seemed to have a good mix this year. The bench did grab 31 percent off all of Cassville's offensive rebounds but also accounted for 30 percent of their fouls.
"Continued effort and work will be needed over the summer and next year to bring more wins by the end of next season," said Coach Robertson.
The Wildcats will return three starters in Reed, Haynes and Rose and nine seniors for next year's squad.