The Sulphur Springs Wildcats proved one thing Tuesday night, they don't surrender.
The Wildcats lost 55-48 to visitors from North Lamar at the SSMS gym, but it was a tough fight.
Mistakes, errors and turnovers by the hometown Wildcats allowed the Panthers to build a 16-point lead in the second half.
But the Wildcats did not raise the white flag and give up. Instead they went to work, going on a 13-6 rally in the final quarter to put a scare into North Lamar. The Panthers left town with a win, but they had to earn it.
“I was very proud of our guys and our overall effort. Our post game chat was how important every possession is,” said Jeremy Josey, Sulphur Springs head boys basketball coach. “We made some very lackadaisical passes and attempted to get away from our game plan at times which resulted in over dribbling. We also, left way too many points on the floor not finishing wide open looks.”
Isaiah Lacy popped the nets for 12 and Larry Pryor pumped in 10 to lead the Wildcats attack.
North Lamar had three players hit in double digits - Buc Odie (15), Garret Ingram (12) and Ian Dukleth (10) during the spirited contest.
After a see-saw first half, the third quarter opened with the Panthers up 29-24.
Sulphur Springs had five turnovers in the first four minutes of the third quarter allowing the visitors to get easy points from Odie and Ingram as they built a 37-28 lead. Sulphur Springs tried to stay close with Reid Burns hitting a nice floater from the base. Pryor hit one of two free throws and Lacy scored off a steal to make it a 37-31 game with NL still in the lead.
Ingram, wearing No. 13 for North Lamar, was luckier than his number as he twice turned steals into fast break layups. The lead quickly went for 10 points, 41-31 to a game high margin of 47-31 with 2:19 left in the third period. The Panthers were scoring points in bunches, fueled by turnovers and rebounds. Austin Buck hit a bucket from the wing and Burns canned a pair of free throws. But the third quarter ended with North Lamar possessing all the momentum, and a 49-35 lead. During the frame the Wildcats were outscored 20-11.
Action moved to the final period and it looked like a North Lamar win was all but in the books, the visitors holding a 14 point lead. But the Wildcats proved they were pesky and determined. Lacy hit a 3-pointer and Connor Cooper added a soft jumper from the lane as the Wildcats drew closer. Cooper made one of two free throws and with 4:17 left in the game, the Wildcats were down 41-31.
Lacy again had deadly aim from outside popping the net on another 3-pointer. But the Panthers broke the Sulphur Springs press and twice got layups. Pryor turned a rebound into a putback bucket in the paint for the home team as the Wildcats were within eight points, 54-46 with less than two minutes on the game clock. North Lamar started taking the air out of the ball, turning to a passing game near midcourt, not trying to score. The Wildcats came out on defense and fouled the Panthers and North Lamar hit enough shots to secure the game and take the 55-48 victory.
In the early going, it appeared North Lamar would take control early as they bolt to an 11-5 lead behind points from Odie, Dukleth and Jose Logan. Sulphur Springs found their shooting touch and closed out the final two minutes of the first half with an 8-2 scoring burst. Pryor scored twice in the paint and Buck hit four free throws. The first quarter ended as the game had begun, in a tie. Both teams putting 13 points on the board.
The Wildcats had some turnover trouble in the second period as the quick Panthers made them pay with layups on the other end. North Lamar outscored the home squad 16-11 in the second period to build a 29-24 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Wildcats fell behind by 16 points at one stage, but came roaring back to make it a close game. The NL Panthers held on to claim the win by the final of 55-48.
Josey added, “Our guard play overall was pretty solid - our goal was less then 10 turnovers. We accomplished that - which allowed us to stay in the game the entire time. Larry Pryor, Darian Dial and Mel Persons all did a great job of being aggressive on the boards and being a presence inside for us.”
North Lamar 55, Sulphur Springs 48
North Lamar 13 16 20 6 -55
Sulphur Springs 13 11 11 13 -48
Sulphur Springs - Alex Smith 4, Isaiah Lacy 12, Darian Dial 2, Reid Burns 4, Connor Cooper 6, Austin Buck 7, Larry Pryor 10, Mel Person 3
North Lamar - Ian Dukleth 10, Devin McDonald 2, Austin Anthony 2, Ryan Robinson 4, Buc Odie 15, Samaki Walker 2, Garret Ingram 12, Kirk Sellers 4, Joe Logan 4
North Lamar 52, Sulphur Springs 50 (JV)
Sulphur Springs - Darius Lacy 6, Melroy Givens 2, Landon Brock 3, Derick Wright 14, Kade Hudgins 4, Cain Cody 21
North Lamar 57, Sulphur Springs 35
Sulphur Springs - Zaccheus Petty 10, Zach Haywood 1, Keylon Hall 11, Malone 3, Garrett Jones 5, Hardin 4, Trenton Brock 1.
Next up- Sulphur Springs in Wills Point Tournament
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