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Home News-Telegram Sports Wildcats, Lady Cats in playoffs tonight

Wildcats, Lady Cats in playoffs tonight

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There’s no other way to describe it, other than calling the events historic.
    Not like General Washington at Valley Forge or Davy Crockett at the Alamo, but historic in a sports and school sense for Sulphur Springs.

    The Lady Cats, 24-5 on the year, face Mansfield Lake Ridge in the Class 4A girls regional quarterfinal playoffs at 6:30 p.m. at Rockwall High School.
    Meanwhile, some seven miles away as the crow flies, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats take on the Wylie High School Pirates at 7:30 p.m. at Rockwall-Heath High School in the boys Class 4A, bi-district basketball playoffs.
    It’s a magical night for Sulphur Springs basketball fans.
    The fact that the Sulphur Springs Wildcats made the playoffs has turned heads and changed attitudes about the program.
    The last time the Wildcats were in the playoffs was the end of the 2008-2009 season when they lost a bi-district matchup against Jacksonville in Wagstaff Gym in Tyler.
    Since then, it has been slim times to say the least. Wins, especially in district, were few and far between.
    The Wildcats this year not only made the playoffs, but took second place in district with wins over Marshall, Mount Pleasant and even Texas High.
    Sulphur Springs has their work cut out for them against the tall Pirates.
    “Wylie has about 6-3 players at every position, except inside where they are 6-4 to 6-9,” said Jeremy Josey, Wildcats head basketball coach.
    “They are a very athletic team and really have a couple of guys who make them go,” said Josey. “They are disciplined and well-coached to play to their strengths of the transition game and if nothing is there, they will execute something.”
    Perhaps the biggest challenge Josey has is not letting the Wildcats get too up for the game. After all, it is the first playoff game for all Cats suited up.
    “Of course our guys are excited about the upcoming game vs. Wylie,” Josey said. “It’s the first playoff experience for all of them. We are not approaching it any different, as we want to maintain our our routine because in the end, it’s just another game.”
    Sulphur Springs head girls basketball coach Jeff Chapman as he readies the Lady Cats for their regional quarterfinal contest.
    “We will do the same thing, it will be same ride over, girls complaining about where we stop, all that,” Chapman said with a laugh.
    The Lady Cats are paced by junior point guard Desi Debase. She averages 22.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.7 steals a game. Senior 6-1 post/forward Destiny Wade is averaging 12.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. Shakoja Debase leads the team with 47 3-pointers, she averages 7.8 points and 4.2 rebounds. Kasey Moore, also a 6-1 inside player, is scoring 4.1 points a game, pulling down an average of 6.4 rebounds per game. Chrissalynd Person is contributing 2.6 points, 1.4 rebounds a game. As a team the  Lady Cats are averaging 54 points a game.
    The coach continued, “We’ve scouted Lake Ridge and watched the video. They like the guards to shoot, their post players are average. We think if we play well, it’s a game that we can win. That’s if all the players do their job.”
    “We look for them to run a man-to-man defense with some zone,” Chapman said. “They also press some, that hurt John Tyler when they played them. Lake Ridge is athletic, but not overally tall. They look quick on the video. Hopefully we can control that and not let the press hurt us. We have been practicing hard to break the press.”
    Chapman said the win is big for the program with the Lady Cats not reaching this level of the playoffs in more than 10 years.
    “We want to play well and do our best. Our goal all year was to play well as team, use good defense and go as deep in the playoffs as we could. That’s why I am excited too about the boys making the playoffs. Anything that gets people here excited about basketball is great,” Chapman said.
    “I want kids here to know that you can win here in basketball, because we are doing,” Chapman said. “For the boys and girls to both be in the playoffs is a great thing.”




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