The Cassville Wildcats celebrated their 2010 Tip-Off festivities with a 71-60 victory over the Lamar Tigers on Friday night. Travis Northern and Airica Baker presided as king and queen as Trenton Dickinson's team won for the second time this season.
On paper, this looked like a monumental task for Cassville, as Lamar owned a distinct height advantage. But the Wildcats played their most complete game yet, matching the Tigers in rebounds and owning every other phase of the game.
Lamar just could not accept that Cassville was quicker, faster and stronger. The Tigers mounted a token press periodically in the first half but to no advantage. The Wildcats easily moved the ball to the front court against Lamar's press and earned several easy buckets against the over-extended zone.
Northern gave Cassville the first lead of the game when he sneaked inside the lane for a layup on an inbounds play at 7:02 of the first quarter. Lamar's David Ellingwood answered with a trey from the left wing to give the Tigers a 3-2 advantage. It was the only lead the visitors would know all night.
Clinging to a 13-12 lead in the final 30 seconds of the opening period, Cassville's Axl Larson smoked a trey from the right corner as the clock ticked down to give the Wildcats a 16-12 lead. Larson's string of three treys for Cassville in the opening period set the tone for the game.
That lead ballooned in the second quarter, reaching a nine-point differential on Trevor Tanner's three-ball from the left sideline to establish a 23-14 score favoring Cassville. But the 'Cats squandered the lead.
Ellingwood matched Larson's earlier buzzer-beater with his own 20-footer off the glass at the halftime buzzer, and the teams entered halftime with the score knotted at 30-30.
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