Wildcats are tournament champions
After downing Spokane on Friday night, 54-44, the Cassville Wildcats blitzed Springfield Catholic with a 13-2 first quarter and cruised to a 53-40 victory to win the championship game of the Spokane Tournament on Saturday.
After a snoozer first quarter, which saw Spokane leading by a 7-2 score, Cassville doubled up Spokane in the second quarter, 22-11, and never looked back.
Axl Larson led the Wildcats with 21 points against the Owls.
"Beating Spokane was a great win for our program," said Cassville's Trenton Dickinson. "To beat a team like Spokane on their home floor is a great tribute to how far we have come. Congratulations to our players. They earned the chance to play in their first final.
"A special thanks to our crowd that showed up," said Dickinson. "They played a huge role in this victory."
Then in the Saturday championship game, the Wildcats captured the trophy with a blend of shooting and strong defense. No Catholic player reached double figures in scoring. Although the Irish put up 20 points in a fourth quarter rush, they could not overcome three periods of Wildcat domination.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats scored at a blistering pace. Dickinson's troupe hit 22 of 37 shots from the field against the Irish.
Cassville led 30-12 at halftime and extended the lead to 42-20 at the final break.
Cassville scorers: Evan Stubblefield, 14; Ricky Nichols, 10; Axl Larson, 8; Josh Lewright, 8; Joel Maher, 4; Chris Smith, 4; Trey Rose, 2; Jordan Shore, 2; and Garrett Kirk, 1.
Catholic scorers: Danny Richardson, 8; Thomas Gray, 7; Robby Ruzicka, 7; Chad McBride, 6; Evan Craig, 4; Jeffrey White 4; Tim Gerwel, 2; and Brandon Kratz, 2.
Coach Dickinson was extremely proud of his Wildcats, saying, "This was a great way to come out in the championship game. We played outstanding defense throughout the game. We got a chance to play every player, so it felt like a true team championship.
"Congratulations to our players, fans and community. This was a great win for Cassville basketball," added Dickinson. "Now, we have to get better and get ready for the Bolivar Tournament."
Both Axl Larson and Josh Lewright were selected to the All Tournament team.
Lewright scores 20 in win over Verona
A fourth quarter outburst keyed the Cassville Wildcats to a 67-42 win over Verona in opening round play of the Spokane Tournament on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Lewright led the Cassville effort with 20 points. Three other Wildcats reached double figures in the victory.
After establishing a 17-9 lead at the end of the first period, Cassville let Verona hang around and led by only 30-25 at halftime. The Wildcats stretched the lead to 44-36 at the final break and then ran away from Verona with the 23-6 surge in the fourth.
Cassville led in almost every statistical category. The Wildcats took full advantage of their superior height to control the rebounding battle, 33-19, and doubled Verona's points in the paint, 28-14. Cassville lost the three-point percentage line but outscored Verona from beyond the arc, shooting seven of 22 versus four for 10.
Brad Stewart's Verona team struggled from the free-throw line, hitting only two of eight shots.
Cassville's deep bench, a staple of Trenton Dickinson's team, outscored Verona 10-2.
Cassville scorers: Josh Lewright, 20; Ricky Nichols, 12; Axl Larson, 12; Chris Smith, 10; Evan Stubblefield, 6; John Cavness, 4; and Joel Maher, 3.
Verona scorers: Estrada, 14; Kissinger, 12; Ernsberger, 8; Losack, 4; Washam, 2; and Patterson, 2.