Wildcats bitten by Bulldogs
Cassville drops district opener to Carl Junction
Cassville fans, coaches and players will have nightmares for the next few nights as they reflect on a 65-54 loss to Carl Junction in the district opener in Webb City on Monday.
The Bulldogs’ Trenton Smith, a 6-6 senior who signed with Southwest Baptist University, was a beast too big to handle, scoring 29 points, blocking 3 shots, grabbing 12 rebounds and nearly single-handedly forced Cassville to become a perimeter shooting team.
“In my opinion, he is the best player in our district and maybe all of southwest Missouri,” said Barrett Milleson, Cassville coach. “We just didn’t have an answer. We held him to 10 points in the first half, but then we started pressing, and credit to their guard for making the right passes. We were a step behind all night.”
The Wildcats trailed 17-16 after the end of one quarter, but a 15-3 run, which encompassed the entirety of the second quarter, sent Carl Junction into the break with a 32-19 edge.
The third quarter did not bode well for the Wildcats either, settling for outside shots and finding the driving lanes to the basket clogged with defenders.
“We made it tough on ourselves, and they made it tougher,” Milleson said. “We need to shoot better, especially in the first half.”
Cassville came into the game as the No. 3 seed, and Carl Junction the No. 6.
The Wildcats say goodbye to four seniors in Ethan Hoppes, Andrew Littlefield, William Lowery and Brendan Seufert.
“Those guys have been with me since they were freshmen,” Milleson said. “They are all hard workers and program-defining talents. We hope they serve as the snowball at the top of the mountain that has paved a way for us to build a strong tradition.”
Milleson said the Wildcats will start five seniors next year and they hope to build off of this year’s team.
Scoring for Cassville were: Hoppes, 17; D.J. White, 19; Carson Roller, 13; Jarrod Wallace 4; Lowery, 3; and Littlefield, 1.