Time is running out for the Cassville Wildcats who simply want to prove that they can survive the season and walk away with a few more wins to add some good experience for next year's young leaders.
Last week was hard as the Wildcats fell 48-59 to the top-ranked Houn' Dawgs on Feb. 10 in a tough contest and then faced a challenging match against the East Newton Patriots on Friday night, which Cassville lost 42-59.
Once again the team showed a growing sense of fearlessness as they finished within 11 points of Aurora, a team who has been known to score over 60 points in several games this season and who has claimed several victories by considerable margins.
Courage, if nothing else, may take the Wildcats to the next level as they continue to provide a good example of sportsmanship and teamwork on the court, hoping to have a strong finish as they go into the season's home stretch.
Wildcats duke it
out at Aurora
Last week, Cassville squared off against Aurora, the number-one ranking team in the Big 8 and a team that ranks 26th in the state this year.
While the game was arguably Aurora's from the start, Cassville never backed down, and despite a first half that saw them behind 35-18 by its end, the Wildcats came back with confidence and held the Houn' Dawgs 16-15 in the third and then overtook their hosts 15-8 in the fourth. In the end, Cassville was unable to overcome its first-half deficit and the Wildcats lost 48-59.
Devin Linenbrink, who came away with 12 points for the game, led the Wildcats. Others who contributed points for Cassville were: Nashe Lugeanbeal and Ryan Pace, who scored 8 apiece; Chris Smith, who put up 7 points; Axl Larson, who tallied 5 points; Kyle Rhea, who hit for 4 points; and Josh Lewright and Ricky Nichols who scored 2 points each.
The Wildcats also had a trio of players who were fighting to clean up the glass in this contest as Linenbrink hauled in seven boards and Larson and Pace pulled down six apiece.
Patriots stand tall
Last Friday, the Wildcats hosted the East Newton Patriots for a thrilling game that ended in disappointment for the home team.
The first period belonged to the Patriots, as they broke out early with an 11-4 lead but the Wildcats quickly began chipping away at the Patriots in the second, and by halftime Cassville was down 22-14, which put the team safely within striking distance.
As the second half opened, the Wildcats were determined to take charge of the hardwood, outscoring East Newton 16-13 to bring Cassville within four points of their opponents.
It would be the fourth period that would clearly decide the game, unfortunately in the Patriot's favor. East Newton brandished a 24-point scoring streak that overshadowed the 11 points put up by Cassville in the final quarter of play. Ultimately, the Wildcats were forced to accept a 42-59 loss.
"We did a lot of things right in this game," said Cassville Coach Randy Robertson. "East Newton came in and played a good game, unfortunately we were just unable to win although we played well."
Smith played an excellent game, leading the Wildcats with 18 points for the night. Other point-getters for Cassville included Larson with 12 points, Linenbrink with 8 points, and Lugeanbeal and Pace with 2 points each. Pace was the top rebounder for Cassville, contributing nine for the night.
Coach Robertson and the Wildcats hosted Monett on Monday, Feb. 17 and will travel to Seneca on Friday, Feb. 20 before hosting the Class 4, District 11 Tournament next week. Cassville is scheduled to play Reeds Spring on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Tournament brackets appear on page 16 of this week's newspaper.
JV Cats fall to Aurora
Last Tuesday, the JV Wildcat squad played the Aurora Houn' Dawgs at Aurora. The Houn' Dawgs prevented Cassville from scoring in the double-digits throughout the contest and dominated every period of action to earn a 47-25 victory.
Rhea took charge for the JV Cats and delivered 11 points for the night. Others contributing points for the Wildcats were Mike Nolan, with 5 points, Brandon Miller with 3 points, and Bo Blisard, John Botson and Rocky Young with 3 points each.
Cassville JV crushes
Last Friday night the JV 'Cats dueled with the Patriots in a game that resulted in low figures for the Patriots as they put up a mere 10 points in the first half against the Wildcats' 29 points.
Cassville outscored the Patriots again in the third period, 17-9, but both teams struggled in the fourth with East Newton eventually taking control of the period at 6-2. In the end, the Patriots fell 48-25 as the Wildcat JV squad improved its record to 6-11 for the season.
Leading the 'Cats in points was Evan Stubblefield, who tallied 16 for the game. Also adding points to the scoreboard for Cassville were: Botson, 10 points; Nolan and Young, 8 points apiece; and Jordan Bailey, Blisard and Rhea, 2 points each. Brock Jacobs was the team's top rebounder with seven for the night.