|Wildcats beat Commerce with dominating second half|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Dec. 7, 2005 - A dominating second half performance by the Sulphur Springs Wildcats (2-6) turned a 25-22 halftime deficit into a 61-45 win over the Commerce Tigers at Wildcat Gym.
"We have had a bad season so far and are coming off a rough start, and we need to pick it up now and hopefully we will continue that for the rest of the season," said senior guard Jay Pope. "Hopefully, we can bring this momentum through to the tournament and get our motivation up and continue getting wins."
This was the second meeting between the two schools after Commerce won Saturday's game in their final game of the Quinlan Ford tournament and SSHS head coach Jeff Carroll said the improvement was visible Tuesday night.
"I think Saturday was just tough for us because we had our third game in two days and it was early in the morning. I think our legs weren't underneath us and we just didn't play as well as we are capable of playing. I think we played better tonight," the coach said.
The Wildcats came out in the first quarter against Commerce shooting 8-of-18 from the field and held a 20-15 lead as junior Chris Young scored nine points in the first quarter. Young finished the game with a season-high 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field with two rebounds, four steals, four assists and one block for the Wildcats.
"Chris played really well. He didn't force anything and he allowed the game to come to him tonight, and that was the big thing because if he allows the game to come to him then he can put up numbers like that," Carroll said.
The second quarter was a different story for the Wildcats.
Sulphur Springs was held scoreless for nearly four minutes as Commerce went on an 8-0 run to take a 25-21 lead with 1:52 remaining. The Wildcats shot 0-of-10 from the field and 2-of-6 at the free-throw line during the quarter.
Carroll said in the second quarter the players were not moving to the ball and that hurt them as they were outscored 10-2 in the period.
"I think part of it was they got into a zone and it got us standing around ,and we can't be standing around and have success like we want to," he said.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats started to get open looks from Young and senior Jose Vargas as the duo combined for 18 of the team's 24 points in the quarter.
Commerce forward LaQuinn Blakely cut the Wildcats lead to 11 at 52-39 on a bucket with 5:21 remaining in the game but could not get the deficit below single digits.
Vargas had nine points and six boards, while Pope had eight points, five steals and two assists.
Blakely scored a team-high 11 points for Commerce while teammate Anthony Henry had nine points, nine boards, two steals, one assist and one block.
The Wildcats return to tournament action at 10 a.m. Thursday against Princeton in Wills Point, and Carroll said defending the perimeter will be a concern.
"Princeton shoots the ball very, very well and they have several kids who can shoot the three and they like to play very up tempo," he said. "Defensively, they do a lot of different things and so we need to be prepared for being able to see different things and defend their shooters."
Carroll said he sees the winner of the Wills Point Kiwanis Classic coming from the upper half of the bracket.
"The bracket is wide open and actually I think the winner will come from our half of the bracket with ourselves, Forney, Greenville and Stephenville, and if we play well we will definitely have a chance at it," Carroll said.
A loss to Princeton puts the Wildcats into a 3:30 p.m. game Thursday, while a win sets them up for a 8:45 a.m. game Friday against either Martins Mill or Forney.
SSHS 42, Commerce 35
The Wildcats had seven players score in the game and were led by Tyrick Rollison with 12 points as the only double-figure scorer for Sulphur Springs.
LaDarius Brown pitched in nine points while Demarcus Johnson added six points.
Sulphur Springs forward Ricky Willis rolled his ankle going for a rebound in the first quarter and did not return to the Wildcats' lineup.
Commercewas led by Parnell with 18 points.
Commerce - Parnell 18, Hall 4, Kimble 4, Ashley 4, Love 2, Allen 3.
Sulphur Springs - Tyrick Rollison 12, DeQualin Evans 4, LaDarius Brown 9, Ricky Willis 2, Demarcus Johnson 6, DeKarion Harrison 4, Andrew Panter 5.
SSHS 66, Commerce 33
Sulphur Springs improved to 4-3 on the year with a double-digit win over Commerce and held them under 10 points in three of four quarters.
Rashad Hall led the way with a game-high 20 points while teammate Johnny McSheffery had 10 points for the Wildcats.
Derek Johnson scored 15 points for Commerce.
Commerce - Derek Johnson 15, Jarred Turner 4, Ian Morehouse 4, Dean Wells 6, Michael Bowdin 2, Arin Henley 2.
SSHS - Rashad Hall 20, Jace Jackson 4, Clay Hansford 4, Colten Nash 8, Stephen Kramer 4, Ross Hicks 2, Johnny McSheffery 10, Jonathan Lee 9, J. R. Harrison 5.