|Wildcats lose to defending class 3A state champion Van Vandals|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Dec. 17, 2005 - VAN - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats are on a four-game losing streak after a 57-32 loss to the defending Class 3A state champion Van Vandals Friday night.
"They are a good team and we just didn't play as well as we needed to tonight," said SSHS coach Jeff Carroll.
The Wildcats (3-11) will return to the court Monday night taking on the Corsicana Tigers (6-6) at Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville. The junior varsity will start at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity at 7 p.m.
"They (Corsicana) have a lot of quickness and guards who can definitely take care of the ball," the coach said. "We need to make sure that we stay in front of them and play good defense."
This will be the final game before the Christmas holiday and Carroll said practice time will be hard due to the University Interscholastic League rule that teams have to take five days off for the holiday.
"It won't be much practice time because we play on the 20th and we can't really practice again until the 27th so we only have one day of practice before the Mount Pleasant tournament," he said.
On Friday, the Wildcats once again kept the scoring close in the first quarter as Van held a 10-8 lead heading into the second quarter.
Junior Chris Young led the team in scoring with 11 points, one rebound and one steal, while teammate Jay Pope, returning from an absence in Monday night loss to Sherman, finished with nine points and two boards off of the bench.
"I thought Jay coming back from an absence played a lot better tonight, and once we can get Jose back that will help on the inside," Carroll said.
Vargas did not play because of a football recruiting visit to Iowa State University this weekend.
Sulphur Springs fell behind 26-19 at the intermission on a bucket by Van's Jermie Calhoun with 10 seconds remaining. Calhoun finished with a game-high 20 points, eight rebounds, one steal and one assist.
Carroll said he was impressed with the play of Calhoun throughout the contest.
"We knew he was their best scorer, and I didn't think that he was as good as he was," the coach said. "We knew that he was their best player from previous scouting reports."
The Wildcats were able to cut the Vandals' lead to 33-24 with 3:55 remaining on free throws by Sam Pettit, but were held scoreless until Drew Biggerstaff nailed a jumper for a 41-26 deficit with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
The Vandals had nine of their 11 players put up points as Caleb Neill scored 14 points, to go with three rebounds, two assists and one steal, and was the only other double-figure scorer for Van.
Sulphur Springs shot 10-of-43 from the field for 23.3 percent, while Van shot 23-of-44 for 52.3 percent in the game.
The Wildcats were also out-rebounded 33-16 and 9-3 on the offensive glass and had less assists (10-4) in the game.
Van 44, SSHS 36
Tied at 32-32 after the third quarter, the Van Vandals outscored Sulphur Springs 12-4 in the final quarter to take the win.
Five Wildcats scored in the game led by Ladarius Brown with 11 points, while Tyrick Rollison and DeQualin Evans scored 10 points each.
Van was led by Stroop with 17 points.
SSHS - Tyrick Rollison 10, DeQualin Evans 10, Ladarius Brown 11, Colten Nash 2, DeKarion Harrison 3.
Van - Sage 6, King 6, Crow 7, Dike 8, Stroop 17.
SSHS 68, Van 62
A slow first-quarter start for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats found them behind 24-10, but they outscored Van 58-38 in the final three quarters of play Friday night.
Jace Jackson led the way for Sulphur Springs with 23 points, while teammates Rashad Hall had 17 points and Jonathan Lee pitched in 12 points.
Van was led in scoring by Pennington and Hayes with 21 points each.
Sulphur Springs - Jonathan Lee 12, Jace Jackson 23, Stephen Kramer 3, Rashad Hall 17, Darrell Franklin 7, Joe Ross 6.
Van - Oliver 11, Pennington 21, Hightower 6, Hayes 21, Pugh 3.