For the first time in years, Sulphur Springs won a district game, edging Hallsville 59-55 here Tuesday night.
"It's been 1,448 days since Sulphur Springs won in district. This is a relief," said Jeremy Josey, Sulphur Springs head boys basketball coach. "That is one of the first things I heard when I interviewed for this job. That Sulphur Springs had not won a district game in several years. Well, we got that monkey off our back."
The last win came Feb. 17 of 2009, ironically enough, against Hallsville.
"We had talked about this and we made getting a win in district something we focused on," Josey said. "Tonight, we did not get frustrated. We shared the ball we made some big plays and we hit the shots we had to hit at the end. Overall, I am pleased with our effort. I am very proud of this team and we are not done."
With a district record now of 1-7 the Wildcats still have two district contests yet to play.
Against Hallsville, the Wildcats got 18 points from freshman Cain Cody while Isaiah Lacy added 15. The Bobcats were paced by 27 points from Ronnie Gideon and 18 by Cody Blankenship.
Gideon, who will be playing baseball at Texas A&M next year, is a force on the basketball court as well.
The Wildcats had lead of 10 points in the third period, going up 34-24 with six minutes to play. The Bobcats came storming back with Gideon and Blankenship scoring from 3-point land. The fourth quarter began with Sulphur Springs clinging to a 39-34 lead.
In the final frame, it was a battle with score tied five times. Sulphur Springs built the lead to 43-37 following free throws from Traderian Ross and Cody while Darian Dial pumped in a short range jumper. Hallsville answered with a scores in the paint from Gideon while Blankenship turned a steal into a fast break layup. The game was deadlocked at 43-all with 4:53 left. Andra Smith scored on a put back in the lane for the Wildcats, then Cody added a fastbreak layup. The Wildcats were up 50-47, but could not pull away. Hallsville tied the score when Blankenship hit a 3-pointer to make it a 50-all game with 2:54 remaining. Smith scored on a drive to goal, but Gideon kept the game tied, making two key free throws. With 2:29 left on the game clock, it was dead even at 52-all. Dontrell Johnson of Hallsville connected for a pair of free throw at the 2:15 mark to allow the visitors to edge ahead 54-52. Moments later, Gideon struck out on two shots at free throws and Bobcats had to be content with a two point lead. Lacy was fouled and sent to the line and with 1:27 on the game clock, he sank both free throws to tie the game at 54-all. Hallsville went into a full court press to try for a steal. Twice Hallsville was called for charging and the ball went back to the Wildcats. Lacy scored on a drive to the goal and the Wildcats went up 56-54 with 23 seconds to play. The Lacy scored on a free throw and second later stole the inbounds pass for a quick bucket. The Sulphur Springs players took a 59-55 lead as the horn sounded. The team ran onto the court, hugging each other and talking to the crowd in celebrate of the victory, which was years in the making.
The game was an interesting battle from the very start. Sulphur Springs played with a lot of confidence early on their home court. The Wildcats were up 9-2 in the early going thanks to buckets from Dial, Cody and Lacy. Twice nice passes set up scores. First it was Lacy passing to Cody, then teammates returned the favor. Dial and Lacy canned clutch 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the first frame. The opening period ended with Sulphur Springs riding the crest of momentum, holding a 17-11 score.
Hallsville had some firepower with Blankenship getting hot from long distance hitting two 3-pointers. He also scored on a layup, in the twinkling of an eye, the Sulphur Springs lead was gone. The game was tied at 21-all with three minutes left before intermission. Then it was Sulphur Springs' turn to put on a scoring run and they did. The Wildcats closed out the second period with an 11-0 run. Points fell like rain from Cody and Lacy. Reid Burns came off the bench to pop the net for a 3-pointer. The first half ended with the home team up 32-21. The 11 point lead was the largest of the game.
In the third period, Hallsville would not go away and kept chipping away at the margin. The Wildcats up 39-34 as action shifted to the final period.
Each team scored 20 points in the final period, but it was the home team coming out on top with the 59-55 victory. The first in district in several seasons.
Sulphur Springs players were still laughing and celebrating the win in the locker room after the game. Smith said, "We had to get it done. We leaned on each other and we did it.”
Lacy said he thought the victory came due to recent tough practices. "We push each other in practice, that makes us good. We believe in each other. This win feels so good. It gives us a lot of confidence in ourselves."
Senior Austin Buck said, "We had not won a district game my whole career. We played well as a team. We did what we needed to do and the shots fell for us to get a victory."
Scoring box, Sulphur Springs 59,
Sulphur Springs 17 15 7 20 -59
Hallsville 11 10 14 20 -55
Hallsville - Andre Jones 4, Cody Blankenship 18, Dontrell Johnson 2, Thadeus Fagan 4, Ronnie Gideon 27
Sulphur Springs - Andra Smith 8, Isaiah Lacy 15, Darian Dial 8, Connor Cooper 3, Reid Burns 3, Traderian Ross 2, Cain Cody 18, Derick Ingram 3
Junior varsity score - Sulphur Springs 59, Hallsville 41
Sulphur Springs - Alli Rosales 4, Melroy Givens 9, Darius Lacy 4, DeAndre Wright 4, Landon Brock 11, Carson Hicks 4, Dillon Carpenter 14, Kade Hudgins 11.
9th grade - Hallsville 38, Sulphur Springs 18
Sulphur Springs - Zaccheus Petty 2, Keylon Hall 2, Garrett Jones 2, Derrick Weeks 6, Trenton Brock 2, Tyler Follis 4.
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