By Lee Stubblefield
The Cassville Wildcats opened the 2009-10 basketball season Monday night at the 63rd annual Carthage Invitational. The new Carthage campus is home to one of the best high school gyms around.
The home side features around 500 chairback seats while the visitors' side and one end have plenty of bleacher seating. There is easy access to all seating areas from both the floor and the upper hallways. The gym has scoreboards at both ends and a collegiate-style board suspended directly over center court. It is a great facility but a little smaller than Cassville's favorite road destination in St. Louis.
The Wildcats lost their first-round game to a powerful Seneca squad, 60-27.
"That's a great basketball team, and a tough game to open with," said Cassville's Trenton Dickinson.
Seneca controlled the boards and the lane with its 6'7" senior post Stryker Harris, and four Indians scored in double figures. Sharpshooter Toby Roelfsema led all scorers with 14.
Rocky Young paced the Cassville attack with 8 points, Axl Larson scored 5, and Chris Smith and John Cavness contributed 4 each.
Seneca started the contest with a 5-0 blitz and never trailed while enjoying quarter leads of 17-9, 33-15 and 50-24 leading to the 60-27 final.
"A lot of good things happened for us tonight," said Dickinson. "We played everybody we had and had a chance to see what we can do."
The already deep Cassville roster will gain more players shortly with several players from the championship football team joining the squad.
"They're about a week away from contributing," assessed Dickinson.
The Wildcats play at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the consolation bracket against Nevada, a 49-30 victim of Carthage in the first Monday night contest.