Growth key for Wildcat hoops' future

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cassville coaches encouraged by team's potential

With a huge game against Neosho looming on Friday, the Cassville basketball team (2-2) sees the next two weeks as pivotal for its season.

"Talent-wise, I think we have more this year than last year," said Barrett Milleson, Cassville coach. "We are young and are still learning how to win and how to mesh our talents."

The Wildcats are fresh off a third-place finish in the Marionville Tournament and 54-48 win over Southwest, a game in which the Wildcats fell behind by 11 in the first half.

"Southwest is an improved team," Milleson said. "They were able to pick on a weak area of our team -- slow starts to games."

Cassville has had to rally in both of its wins this season from first-half deficits. In the two losses, the team never recovered from slow starts.

"Starting games with the same intensity we end them with is something we are working on," Milleson said. "This time of the year, the game is like a rat race -- how fast can you get better."

The Wildcats' two returning starters are pulling their weight, as Collin Pearman is averaging a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds per game. Ethan Hoppes, a sophomore, is chipping in another 12 points per contest."

Milleson said they will be keys to the team taking the next step.

"Last year, we started from square one with what my expectations were and how we would run our offense," Milleson said. "This year, we are ahead of last year's pace. We need to get taking small steps if we want to reach our potential."

Tipoff at Neosho is set for 7 p.m.

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