Cassville holds off Monett for 61-53 win
Cassville Wildcats basketball Coach Danny Powers was not reticent at all about the magnitude of the rivalry between the Wildcats and the Monett Cubs on Feb. 19.
"We have a lot of football players on our basketball roster," said Powers. "I'm sure it (Monett ending our football season) was in the back of some of our kids' minds.
"However, I am thinking more about the rivalry on the basketball court right now," continued Powers. "Last year, we went over there and managed to escape with a win. I'm proud of my team tonight for making it two years in a row over a very physical Monett."
Cassville's 61-53 victory is a little deceiving as, other than the first quarter, the game wasn't a blowout.
At one point in the third quarter, Cassville had Monett down 17, looking to finish off the Cubs. But in the final quarter, the Cubs got close enough to make the Cassville faithful nervous.
The Wildcats played Monett to a 12-12 tie in the first quarter, which saw Cassville's Ethan Lowery score 7 of his game-high 26 points in the opening frame.
The second quarter started out like a chess match. Monett's Elijah George connected for a 3-pointer, which was answered by the Wildcats' Logan Scott's trey at the 6:22 mark.
With the game tied at 15, the Wildcats jumped into a full-court press. Scott stole a pass and went up for a layup, extending the lead to 17-15.
Cassville's press forced Monett Coach Ty Goetz to call a timeout to avoid a 10-second backcourt violation.
Immediately out of the timeout, Cole Beagle stole a pass and finished with a layup to give the black and gold a 19-15 edge.
The first half ended with the Wildcats up 29-22.
Cassville had a very solid third quarter.
With the Cubs dealing with foul trouble and struggling with the Wildcat pressure, Garrett Kirk and Lowery erupted, scoring all 12 of the Wildcats' points to lift the home team to a 41-31 lead at the final break.
"I have learned we cannot take anything for granted," said Powers. "We had a 12-point lead in the fourth and managed to squander it against Richland. We have been stressing to our players about doing a better job of playing with the lead.
"We have played some really great first halves this season," continued Powers. "But then lay an egg in the third quarter. Tonight, we did not have a flat third quarter."
Monett wouldn't fade and played an inspired fourth quarter cutting Cassville's lead to single digits and outscoring Cassville 22-20 in the final period. But it wasn't enough as the Wildcats prevailed.
Scoring for Cassville: Lowery, 26 points; Garrett Kirk, 17; Scott, 11; Gabe Kirk, 5; and Beagle, 2.
Scoring for Monett: Kyle Woods, 17 points; Zach Hammond, 10; Aaron Patton, 9; Logan Coones, 6; Cameron Witt, 4; George and Caleb Blue, 3 each; and Quincy Jackson, 1.