Victory still seems to be elusive for the Cassville Wildcats as they cross mid-season without a win on their record as they head into the Spokane Invitational Tournament this week. Despite their hardships, the Wildcats refuse to lay down as they proved in all three of their matches last week.
Cassville narrowly missed a victory against Mt. Vernon with a 33-36 loss, finished within eight points of Parkview with a 30-38 defeat and made Lamar nervous in a game that ended with the Tigers on top 57-62.
The Wildcats hosted the Mt. Vernon Mountaineers last week for what proved to be a very close and intense match. Control of the game shifted back and fourth with each team having its own moments of glory and dismay.
The Wildcats enjoyed a lead in the first period, taking a 10-4 advantage over the Mountaineers. Mt. Vernon answered in the second period, bridging the distance as they put up 12 points to Cassville's 7 to leave the score at 17-16 with the Wildcats in the lead at half-time thanks to Chris Smith's three-point shot and two free-throws from Nashe Lugeanbeal.
As the second half began, the Wildcats grabbed the momentum and tallied 11 points, including another three-pointer from Smith and one free throw apiece by Devin Linenbrink and Lugeanbeal.
Unfortunately, the tide turned in the fourth as the Mountaineers gained control after the Wildcats committed a series of costly fouls that helped Mt. Vernon regain the lead.
The Wildcats continued to mount pressure throughout the fourth, keeping victory in reach. As the game neared its end, Josh Lewright brought the Wildcats to within one point of the Mountaineers with a timely three-pointer.
With the score at 34-33 in Mt. Vernon's favor, Cassville couldn't find the basket, and in the final moments of the game, the Wildcats were charged with another foul that resulted in two more points from the free-throw line for Mt. Vernon to give them a 36-33 win.
Smith had the highest point total in the game for Cassville with 10 points followed by Linenbrink with 7, Ryan Pace with 6, Lewright, with 5, Lugeanbeal with 3 points, and Axl Larson with 2.
Lewright pulled down 10 rebounds for the night to lead the Wildcats. Pace was credited with eight boards and Linenbrink tallied seven.
The Wildcats traveled to Parkview to compete against the Vikings last Tuesday night.
The hosts looked to have their work cut out for them early on as the Wildcats held their ground and put up 10 points to Parkview's 6. In the second quarter, the Vikings battled back and made it a tie-ball game at 17-17 going into half-time locker room.
As the second half began, Parkview caught fire and lit up the scoreboard, outscoring the Wildcats by 9 points in the third period. When the fourth period got underway, a fierce battle ensued. The game ended with the Vikings earning a 38-30 win.
None of the Wildcats were able to put up double-digit scoring in this game as Pace topped the list with 8 points. Other players contributing points for Cassville were: Lugeanbeal, 6; Larson and Linenbrink, 5 apiece; Lewright, 4; and Smith, 2.
Pace also cleaned up the most glass for the Wildcats with a total of six rebounds. He was closely followed by Lewright, Linenbrink and Lugeanbeal who nabbed three each.
The Wildcats faced the long bus road to Lamar last Friday night and almost came home with a win. Due a slow start, Cassville eventually lost to the Tigers 57-62.
Lamar looked to have a runaway victory in its clutches by the end of the first period, grabbing a commanding 22-9 lead over the Wildcats. In the second period, the Wildcats fought back hard and scored 16 points to leave the half-time score at 39-25.
While the first half belonged to the Tigers, the second half undeniably went in favor of Cassville, as the Wildcats controlled the game. The visitors outscored their hosts 12-9 in the third quarter and 20-14 in the fourth to come within six points of victory.
Pace tallied 18 points in the game for the Wildcats, while Smith had 15 points in the game, including one three-pointer. Others who put points on the board for Cassville were: Linenbrink, 8; Lewright, 7 points; Lugeanbeal, 5; and Larson, 4.
Pace also contributed 12 rebounds while Linenbrink hauled in nine.
Coach Randy Robertson and the Wildcats are playing in the Spokane Invitational Tournament this week.