Wildcats play big against Carthage

Thursday, December 21, 2006
Hard to defend Junior Cory Howard had a great game for the Wildcats last Friday night against Carthage. Howard scored 14 points for Cassville and had three assists. Democrat Photo (b)

The Cassville Wildcats played the Carthage Tigers at home on Friday, Dec. 15.

To one very small boy, who couldn't have been more than four, the most exciting part of the game was a near-win at halftime of the free-throw shooting contest. To the rest of the fairly full gymnasium it was something else as their Wildcats would almost pull off a win against the Tigers.

Cassville came into the game wanting a win badly, after having now fallen to 2-5 in the season. Carthage also came to the game with that same mentality with a 1-4 record. From the beginning, Carthage would have a size advantage starting three players that were 6'4" or taller as compared to Cassville's two big men of 6'2" and 6'1".

The Tigers came out strong in the first quarter and took a 16-7 lead behind two good runs; 9-3, 7-2. However, the Wildcats would explode back onto the scene in the second quarter.

Cassville went to their full court pressure defense, starting with a 10-2 run and out scoring them in the second 17-8, leaving the score tied at 24 for the half.

To start the second half things went back and forth until Carthage put runs of 7-1, and 8-2 together and took the lead 45-37 at the end of the third. The Wildcats did not go away though, and opened up the fourth with a 7-1 run that put themselves within two points of the Tigers at 49-47, but the Tigers pulled away coming right back at the 'Cats with an 11-2 run and finishing the game at 60-51.
Cassville, as a team, did well in some areas while faltering in others. The Wildcats overall shot 41 percent for all field goals, turned the ball over only 14 times, and really saw their system come together out-stealing the Tigers 20-6. However Cassville struggled shooting the ball from behind the arc, 24 percent, and free-throw line, 42 percent. They also were out-rebounded 32-20.

Individually the Wildcats did find a new talent as Corey Howard getting to play in only his second varsity game did a marvelous job scoring 14 points, shooting 83 percent from the field (4-6), grabbing two steals, and getting three assists.

Others who contributed were Kelby Haynes 14 points and four steals, Dannon Rose seven rebounds and a season high three steals, Tim Orrell six steals and three assists and Clint Reed with four steals.

It cannot be overlooked that a huge reason why Carthage had success was because of their outstanding play by Guard, Jason Adams (6'5") who scored 28 points, brought down a team high nine rebounds for the Tigers and also had somewhere around five dunks.

The Junior Varsity also got beat by Carthage 49-20; leading scorer in the game was Ryan Pace with five. The Carthage freshman team beat Cassville's as well 27-20.

Also earlier in the week the Cassville Wildcats went to face the Branson Pirates. Branson would start off quickly opening up a 19-8 lead over the Wildcats in the first. Then the Pirates would expand that lead in the second and left the halftime score at 38-10.

In the third and fourth quarters the 'Cats played with the Pirates, but never surmounted a comeback ultimately losing 61-32.

Cassville had a terrible night shooting the ball going 14 percent from three-point and just 28 percent from anywhere. The Wildcats also got out-stolen 13-6 and turned the ball over 21 times. The one highlight of the night was the good play by Cassville's big men who pulled down 34 rebounds as compared to Branson's 35.

Kelby Haynes had a season high 16 points in the game and also shot 64 percent from the field. Ethan Couch also had a good game pulling down two season highs: 10 rebounds and three assists. Marcus Henry shot perfect from the floor (3-3) and Tim Orrell lead the team with two steals.

The Junior Varsity was also unable to get a win against Branson losing 66-21. Marcus Henry led scoring with seven.

Overall on the season the Wildcats drop to 2-6, but still 0-0 in the conference. They will look to improve their record in the Southwest Holiday Tournament starting Dec. 26.

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