|Wildcats on eight game losing streak|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Dec. 31, 2005 - MOUNT PLEASANT - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats are on an eight-game losing streak after falling to the Commerce Tigers, 38-37 in the final game of the Mount Pleasant Tiger Classic.
Sophomore Day Day Porter went in for the game-winning shot with two seconds remaining, but hit the side of the backboard as Jeremy Dowdy recovered the rebound.
First-year head coach Jeff Carroll said the play was set up for senior Jay Pope, but he wasn't able to get open.
"We set up a play and tried to get the ball to Jay and it kind of didn't get done, and Day Day tried to take the shot and we didn't get the shot that we wanted," he said.
The Wildcats are now 3-15 on the year and will take on the Wills Point Tigers Tuesday night at Wildcat Gym, the first of five straight games at home.
"Wills Point is another team a lot like the teams that we have been playing," Carroll said. "We have to come out ready to defend, rebound and be patient on offense, and it is a very winnable game for us.
"It will be huge playing at home. If you think about our season, we haven't played at home very much, but every time we have played there except for our season opener we have played pretty well. Being at home is always nice and it is great to play at the place that you practice every day."
For the second straight game, the Wildcats opened up the first half scoring under 10 points in both quarters as they held a 9-4 lead after the first quarter and were down 17-14 at the break.
"The pace of the game was one thing which made it a low-scoring game and with the style that we are going to play and the style that we have to play to be successful, the games are going to be low in scoring," the coach said.
Josh Danzer gave the Wildcats the 9-4 lead in the first quarter with a lay-up before the buzzer as he finished with two points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Commerce held the lead for good on a basket by Anthony Henry off an assists from Robert Record with 48 seconds remaining to give the Tigers the 17-14 lead at intermission.
Sulphur Springs was able to cut the deficit to 25-23 with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter as Pope nailed a jumper off of a Porter assist. Pope was the team's leading scorer with nine points, five assists, one steal and one assist in the game.
Commerce held its biggest lead of the game at seven points as Record once again connected with Henry for a bucket to make the score 34-27 late in the fourth quarter.
Sulphur Springs scored the last bucket of the game with 1:04 remaining as Pope went in for the lay-up and nailed the free throw for the 38-37 finale.
Carroll said the defense is playing well with district starting Jan. 6.
"The thing that I am really happy with is when you can hold a team to 38 points you are playing pretty solid defense, but we do have to shoot the ball a little bit better," the coach said.
The Wildcats had eight points from junior Drew Biggerstaff and seven points from Porter and Jose Vargas.
Sulphur Springs shot 13-of-40 from the field for 32.5-percent, while Commerce shot 18-of-43 for 41.9-percent and Commerce out-rebounded SSHS 28-18 and 6-2 on the offensive glass.
Commerce (5-12) had 11 points each from Henry and Record.
Carroll said the team goals are being reached but the streak needs to end soon for the Wildcats to have success.
"I have often said that our goals for the season were to play hard, play smart and play together and I think in terms of those goals we are getting better," he said. "No one is happy with the streak that we are on but in terms of the bigger picture with life goals and basketball goals we are getting better and we will be where we need to be."
Sulphur Springs 50, MP Chapel Hill 43
MOUNT PLEASANT - Sulphur Springs improved to 8-7 on the year as seven Wildcats scored in the game.
Tyrick Rollison led the way with 15 points, Dequalin Evans scored 13 points and Demarcus Johnson pitched in seven points for the Wildcats.
Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill was led by Banda with 16 points.
Sulphur Springs - Tyrick Rollison 15, DeQualin Evans 13, Demarcus Johnson 7, Andrew Panter 4, LaDarius Brown 2, Dee Harrison 3, Colten Nash 5.
Chapel Hill - Banda 16.