Seasoned Wildcats aim to grind to the finish line

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Cassville senior Ethan Lowery gets inside to score against Richland on Saturday. Lowery's presence gets the Wildcats a big edge over many opponents. Jared Lankford/

On-floor leadership key down the stretch

It has been a season of ups and downs for the 8-10 Cassville Wildcats basketball team.

Yet, as the season has progressed, so have the Wildcats.

Gabe Kirk, a junior at Cassville High School, unleashed a 3-pointer during the Wildcats' win against Richland on Saturday. Jared Lankford/

Coach Danny Powers has worked all season bringing his team along both in skill and their leadership ability.

"I am a firm believer in making my players take charge on the court," Powers said. "We can prepare them but they have to execute. They are smart enough to know what they have to do."

Powers' philosophy was on full display Saturday during the Wildcats' 66-37 drubbing of Richland. Despite the final score, the black and gold found themselves in an early 14-4 hole. Instead of calling a timeout to regroup, Powers instructed his team to "figure it out."

"The boys weren't executing our game plan," Powers said. "We can't burn a timeout and talk about what they already know every time a team makes a run at us. The boys handled themselves well."

The Wildcats tightened up defensively and let loose on the offensive end, resulting in 29-0 surge that and a 33-16 halftime lead.

"We knew we could play better [early on]," said senior center Ethan Lowery. "With our size, we can be we difficult to defend. It's nice to be able to go inside out with the ball."

Cassville's ability to seal off the boards and get baskets in transition was key during the run.

"Richland was very good at pushing the ball down the floor, and we were tested defensively getting back down the floor," Powers said.

Starting this past Monday, the Wildcats are scheduled to play six games in a 14-day span.

"The time has come for us to practice and play well," said Marcus Weatherman, senior guard. "We can't let up. Every game we play is bigger than the one before."

On Friday, Cassville travels to East Newton for a Big 8 showdown. When Powers looks at the Patriots, he sees almost a mirror of his team.

"They have been a surprise in the conference this season," Powers said. "I think we have the advantage in the post, and they might be a little better at the guard position. It will be a good game."

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.

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