Wildcats win tourney opener over McAuley
The Cassville Wildcats earned their second win of the season with a 69-62 victory over McAuley in the first round of the Southwest Holiday Tournament on Monday night in Washburn.
Down 10-4 with 4:55 remaining in the first quarter, Cassville looked like a team in trouble. The Wildcats were lethargic at both ends of the court, while the hustle of the Warriors bought an early lead.
A no-look pass from Ricky Nichols set up Ethan Lowery for a basket, and Danny Powers leaped off the bench to call time. It was an intense huddle in front of the Cassville bench.
When play resumed, the Wildcats finished off an 11-6 run to end the quarter, and trailed only 16-15 at the break. Joel Maher's trey ripped the cords for the last points of the period, and gave an inkling of what was to come.
McAuley spurted back out in front to start the second quarter, but Cassville took the lead with a 17-4 run over the final 5:28 of the half. Maher hit three straight bombs to fuel the comeback, and Cassville carried a 34-30 lead to the dressing room.
Ricky Nichols demoralized the Warriors in the third quarter with a pair of fast-break dunks, and Maher poured in 11 more points as the Wildcats reached the final break with a 57-46 lead.
McAuley's Shaw Robertson answered with 11 points in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats took care of business and the ball in the late going while notching the 69-62 win. Cassville improved to 2-5 with the win, while the loss gave McAuley the same 2-5 mark.
Maher finished with a game-high 29 points, while Robertson scored 27 for McAuley.
Cassville scorers: Joel Maher, 29; Ethan Lowery, 13; Ricky Nichols, 13; Cole Beagle, 6; Jordan Shore, 4, John Cavness, 2; and Garrett Kirk, 2.
McAuley scorers: Shaw Robertson, 27; Cole Lowry, 10; Connor Schlegel, 8; Adam Robertson, 7; Ben Street, 4; Lathan Vlasiin, 4; and Anthony Beretoncino, 2.