Bench triples lift Wildcats

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Dane Martin scored 15 points, including 9 in the fourth quarter to help the Wildcats defeat Reeds Spring on Monday. Jared Lankford/

Martin scores 15 to help Cassville into semifinal

Coaches often look to their benches in tough situations to help provide a spark when a starter may have an off night.

For three quarters on Monday, the Wildcats of Cassville fought through a myriad of problems with Reeds Spring in the opening round of the Spokane Tournament.

Carson Roller scores 2 points on a layup against Reeds Spring on Monday. Jared Lankford/

Poor shooting, foul trouble and a pesky Wolves squad had the Wildcats trailing 44-41 as the fourth quarter began.

Dane Martin gave the Wildcats a 46-44 edge with an old-fashioned 3-point play with 6:08 remaining, then the junior hit his third and fourth 3-pointers of the game on consecutive trip to give Cassville a 54-48 lead that it would not relinquish.

“I could not be more proud of the kid,” said Barrett Milleson, Cassville coach. “He’s a gym rat. Dane is a kid that really busts his tail in practice and works on his game. I tell our kids all the time that any one of us needs to be ready to step up and make plays at anytime. He hit two shots there that swung the momentum around. He hit them in a time where the game was hanging in the balance. It was huge.”

Milleson said he was proud of the way his team responded, especially since a loss at Seneca.

“Just six days ago, we were in similar spot at Seneca,” Milleson said. “Only, we had the lead late and failed to execute and ended up losing by seven. To see us pull together and fight through this adversity is what I wanted and needed to see in this team.”

Cassville led 9-3 early in the game but allowed Reeds Spring to finish the quarter on a 12-0 run to lead 15-9. The Wildcats battled back in the second quarter to send the game to its intermission tied 31-31.

Foul trouble hampered the Wildcats in the third, as Ethan Hoppes and Luke Lowery were both relegated to the bench with four fouls.

Cassville advances to face Verona on Thursday at 6 p.m.

“They are a tough and talented team,” Milleson said. “They have three seniors that are as good, if not better than any team we’ve faced. It will be tough.”

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