The Seneca Indians opened a 20-point lead in the third quarter and made 13 of 23 free throws in the final period as they downed the Cassville Wildcats 67-54 on Friday night. A flurry of three-pointers and key offensive rebounds and putbacks propelled the Indians to the Big 8 Conference victory.
Six different Indians scored in the opening quarter as Seneca took a 16-10 lead. The Wildcats went scoreless for the first 3:50 of play before John Cavness swished a jumper from the foul line.
After trailing by 7 early, Cassville pulled back within 11-8 when Ricky Nichols scored a fast break layup courtesy of a feed from Garrett Kirk. But Daniel Noah answered with a trey from the left wing, and Garrett and Seneca's Dalton Lindsey traded layups to reach the 16-10 score at the first break.
While Seneca added 17 points in the second period, the Wildcats scored 13, with 5 of those coming from the free-throw line. Joel Maher converted a three-point play at the 4:38 mark and then Nichols raced to a fast break layup to cut the lead to 22-19.
Seneca scored twice in the closing minutes on offensive boards and sticks, and then Kyler Ng threw in a long buzzer beater.
The Indians outscored the Wildcats 17-7 in third quarter and took a 20-point lead on another buzzer beater trey. Noah's long ball created a 50-30 score at the final break.
Cassville traded free throws with the visitors for the initial three minutes of the final period but still trailed by 17 after Trey Rose buried a trey at the 4:20 mark. Rose's bomb triggered an 11-2 Wildcat run, and Seneca's Will King called for a timeout with 3:10 remaining and the lead down to 58-47.
But the Indians protected the lead with seven-for-10 free-throw shooting down the stretch, and Seneca went to the bus with the 67-54 victory.
Cassville scorers: Ricky Nichols, 20; Joel Maher, 9; John Cavness, 8; Trey Rose, 7; Garrett Kirk, 6; Ty Craig, 2; and Alec Askins, 2.
Seneca scorers: Elias Roelfsema, 14; Kyler Ng and Daniel Noah, 12 each; Dalton Lindsey, 10; Logan St. Clair, 7; and Zack Kelly and Payton Rawlins, 6 apiece.