Mustangs hold off late charge by CHS Wildcats
The Cassville Wildcats couldn't make a fourth quarter four-point lead stand, as they fell 56-50 to the McDonald County Mustangs in the semi-finals of the Class 4, District 12 tournament on Thursday.
A sluggish start to the game put the Wildcats in a 18-11 hole after one quarter of play. Cassville battled back in the second period, outperforming the Mustangs 15 to 9 to trail 27-26 at intermission.
Each team came out of the locker room and exchanged baskets on their first two possessions. Ricky Nichols' trey, followed by a Trey Rose layup and another basket by Nichols gave the Wildcats a five-point 37-32 lead forcing a McDonald County timeout.
The Mustangs responded with a 9-0 run to take a 41-37 lead with eight seconds to go in the third. Nichols' 3-pointer at the buzzer trimmed McDonald County's advantage to 41-40.
Cassville opened the fourth period with two quick baskets from Joel Maher and held a 49-45 lead after another Nichols' basket. Not wilting under the intense Wildcat pressure, McDonald County tied the game at 49-49 on Chance Buttram's layup with 1:24 to go in the game.
Cassville then committed back-to-back turnovers, which allowed the Mustangs the opportunity to take the lead. Buttram sunk two free throws with 1:03 remaining to give McDonald County the lead for good.
The Wildcats missed three 3-point attempts in the final 53 seconds, and the Mustangs hit enough free throws at the charity strip to solidify the win.
Scoring for McDonald County were: Miguel Morales, 21; Buttram, 19; Jordan Wells, 10; and Pablo Alvarez, 6.
Scoring for Cassville were: Nichols, 17; Maher, 15; Trey Rose and John Cavness, 7 each; and Garrett Kirk and Ethan Lowrey, 2 apiece.
The Wildcats, under the leadership of first-year coach Danny Powers, finished the season with a 13-12 record.