The squad has been able to coordinate some excellent offensive strikes as well as gained the ability to turn up the pressure defensively to produce some exciting turnovers.
While this season might not be a success in terms of winning, the Wildcats can move forward into next season knowing that they will be better prepared to meet the challenges ahead of them. The team will lose only two players to graduation, giving them a good starting point for a more successful campaign next year.
Last Tuesday, Cassville closed out its regular home season by hosting the Monett Cubs. Despite a valiant effort, the Wildcats fell to their Barry County rivals 45-55.
The first period opened with great intensity as both camps played a ferocious quarter, with the Wildcats striking first as Ryan Pace converted a rebound for 2 points in the opening seconds. Monett answered and set the tone for the period as both teams pushed for dominance.
Cassville struggled for a lead that they were unable to maintain as the Cubs outscored them 12-11 in the first despite the fact that Chris Smith had an excellent run, scoring twice inside and pulling off an excellent assist to help put up six for the Wildcats.
Monett took control of the action in the second, scoring seven consecutive points in the opening minutes of the period as they went on to add another 15 points to their score by halftime. The Cubs held Cassville to a mere 5 points, which included a magnificent first half closer by Smith as he picked up a loose ball and broke away, tearing down the court and taking it to the hoop from underneath to leave the score at 27-16 going into halftime.
Momentum shifted in the Wildcats' favor during the third period as they initiated a 15-10 comeback following scores from Josh Lewright, Axl Larson, Pace and Smith, who once again blazed down the court after securing a rebound to score a lay-up and draw a foul, which sent him to the charity stripe to give Cassville a three-point boost.
The Cubs clearly secured the win in the fourth, however, as they capitalized on a series of Wildcat fouls to pull away, overtaking their hosts 18-14 in the period despite scores from Lewright, who hit twice, including one from three-point range, Pace and the closer from Devin Linenbrink who took it in for two with four seconds left on the clock.
Pace played a solid game, rebounding, blocking shots and putting up the top figures for Cassville with 12 points. Lewright and Smith made things happen as well, putting up 10 apiece, while Larson hit for 7 points, Linenbrink was good for 4 points and Nashe Lugeanbeal contributed 2 points.
Indians drop Wildcats
Despite playing a strong first half, the Wildcats were unable to defeat the Indians at Seneca last Friday. Cassville lost the Big 8 match-up by a score of 41-56.
The Wildcats finished the first period trailing by only one point and finished the half with a score of 24-26. In the third period, things took a turn for the worst, as the Indians held Cassville to 4 points while widening their lead to 40-28 going into the fourth.
While the Wildcats were able to fare better in the final period, they were unable to bridge the distance, losing yet another quarter as Seneca came away victorious.
Larson and Pace were the leading scorers for the Wildcats, putting up 9 points apiece. Others who contributed to Cassville's point total were: Linenbrink, 8 points; Lugeanbeal, 7 points; Ricky Nichols and Smith, 3 each; and Lewright, 2 points.
Nichols cleaned up the glass for Cassville, leading the way with 11 rebounds for the evening.
Coach Robertson and the Wildcats played in the district tournament held at Cassville High School on Tuesday night against Reeds Spring. The winner of that contest will play Republic on Friday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
JV 'Cats hand Cubs a loss
The JV Wildcats faced Monett Tuesday night and defeated the Cubs 39-25. Cassville took control in the first period and secured a commanding 22-12 lead going into halftime.
The Wildcats came back out in the third and stretched their lead, pinning the Cubs to 6 points while accumulating 10 more to add to their lead heading into the final quarter. Monett was finally able to tie Cassville at 7 each in the final minutes of the contest to finish the game with a 14-point deficit.
The JV 'Cats season leader, Evan Stubblefield, was on top again, hitting for 13 points, while Kyle Rhea contributed 9 points, Mike Nolan scored 7 points, John Botson tallied 4 points, Jordan Bailey made 3 points, Rocky Young put up 2 points, and Josh Hardin contributed 1 point for the night.
Stubblefield also led in rebounds for the evening, hauling in six for the young Wildcats.
JV 'Cats finish
season at Seneca
Seneca's JV Indians hosted Cassville last Friday night for a very close match that saw the two teams swapping control throughout the game. In the end, the Wildcats lost the heartbreaker 36-38
The Indians dominated the first period at 13-5 but were quickly floored by Cassville in the second period. The Wildcats overtook their hosts 11-5 to finish the half down by two points.
Unfortunately, the Indians returned to the court with poise anew in the third period and were able to hold the Wildcats to 9 points while putting up 11 more heading into the fourth.
The Wildcats came back in the final stanza, outscoring the Indians 11-9, but were unable to do enough to move past the Indians who finished with a 38-36 victory.
Nolan topped the scores column for Cassville at 10 points. Other contributing players for the Wildcats were: Bailey and Rhea, 7 points apiece; Botson, 5 points; Bo Blisard, 4 points; and Stubblefield, 3 points. Blisard and Stubblefield led the team in rebounds with seven each for the game.