Wildcats take fifth in holiday tourney

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Cassville Wildcats have had an up-and-down week. The squad was on a high after finishing the Southwest tournament with two straight victories, but in their first Big 8 Conference match-up were humbled by the Aurora Houn' Dawgs.

After losing their initial tournament game against Pierce City, the Wildcats rallied to finish the Southwest Holiday tournament strong. Cassville took down Exeter, 54-22, in semi-final action, opening the game with a 14-5 first quarter and leading by 18 at halftime.

Cassville then took down Wheaton 55-45 in the fifth place game. After getting off to a great start, the Wildcats started to feel the pressure when Wheaton cut the lead to nine in the third quarter, but Cassville found enough to win.

After a good holiday, the Wildcats opened up Big 8 play by hosting Aurora last Friday night.

The Wildcats trailed 10-16 after one quarter but lost their way in the second. Aurora began to find their stroke against the Wildcats and scored an improbable 32 points on the home team in the second frame.

Trailing 48-19 at the break, Cassville's future seemed bleak, but the Wildcats rallied and cut the deficit to 10 in the second half but could not get any closer, losing 62-45.

The Wildcats had a tough night due in part to Aurora's stifling defense. The Dawgs kept Cassville's shooting abilities in check. The Wildcats shot 18 percent (3-17) from three-point range and 30 percent (13-43) overall.

Cassville did excel in the area of free throws. Aurora was charged with 18 fouls, which gave Cassville 20 shots at the line. The Wildcats made 16 of those shots for an 80 percent average. Coming into the contest, the Wildcats averaged only 53 percent at the line.

Individually, Cassville had a new face leading them this week.

Senior Marcus Henry had a career week, averaging 13 points per contest this week and scoring a career-high 21 points against Wheaton. Henry also averaged six rebounds per contest and pulled in seven offensive rebounds.

Cory Howard also had a good week, averaging 11 points per game. The senior also grabbed 10 rebounds, hit seven three-point shots, dished out six assists and tallied three steals.

Another Wildcat standout was Clint Reed who put up 22 points this past week and averaged four steals and four assists over the three-game stretch.

Others scoring for Cassville this week included Kelby Haynes 11, Dannon Rose 10, Martin Hernandez 10, Ryan Pace 8, Nashe Lugeanbeal 7, Ethan Couch 2 and Caleb Beuterbaugh 2.

The Wildcats are now 4-9, 0-1 on the season. They will host Lamar on Friday for another Big 8 Conference match-up and then take on Verona on Monday in the opening round of the Spokane Tournament. The Lamar contest will be broadcast on 95.9 KKBL as well as on radiotalon.com.

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