Wildcats edge out Van Alstyne to keep streak alive
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Dec. 1, 2006 - QUINLAN - The streak continues for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats.

Sulphur Springs opened up the first round of the Quinlan Ford Panther Hoop Magic Tournament with a 49-43 win over the Van Alstyne Panthers on Thursday for their fifth straight win of the young season.

"With the way that our kids are playing right now they are getting better every game and they are getting more confidence every game," said SSHS head coach Rusty Harden. "It doesn't matter who we play, but we are going to come out and play a good ball game."

Senior Drew Biggerstaff led the way for the Wildcats with 12 points, three boards, three assists and three steals, while sophomore Tyrick Rollison had 11 points, five boards, one steal and two blocks.

The Wildcats shot just 37 percent from the field (18-of-48), but it didn't matter because they grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and had seven more steals (10-3), led by Bradley Washington and Biggerstaff with three steals each. Washington finished with five points, five rebounds and one assist.

Harden said the key area in the game was with the turnover ratio - as Sulphur Springs had its best outing of the year with only 13 turnovers.

"I know for a fact we did a better job of taking care of the basketball. I mean I don't know what our turnover ratio was, but it was a lot less. I was pleased with how the kids played and some of the kids came in and made a big impact," the coach said.

"I have stressed that, and I may be making a mistake of talking about them a lot because sometimes it becomes a mental game, and then it is on your mind throughout the game to protect the basketball."

Sulphur Springs jumped out in the first quarter with an 11-6 lead and scored its final basket of the quarter with 1:30 remaining as Colten Nash scored on a pass from Washington.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats saw their lead evaporate as Van Alstyne outscored Sulphur Springs, 12-7, to tie the game at 18-18 going into the half.

SSHS shot just 3-of-17 in the quarter as Washington scored the final basket with under two minutes remaining on a pass from Aaron Williams. Williams finished with a game-high four assists to go along with four points and three rebounds.

"In the second quarter, they went to a zone and gave us a little trouble and at the same time we missed a lot of shots inside. I told them we were getting the shots but we need to sink them because we could have had at least a 10-point lead at the half," Harden said.

In the second half, the Wildcats found their offensive touch, scoring 31 points in the half. A 19-12 spurt in the third quarter gave them a seven-point lead heading into the final quarter at 37-30.

The Wildcats held their biggest lead of the quarter at 33-25 on a 3-pointer by Drew Biggerstaff with 2:45 remaining off an assist from Ladarius Harrison.

SSHS put the game away in the fourth quarter going 6-of-7 from the charity stripe as Williams hit 4-of-4 in the quarter including the final free throws with 34 seconds remaining.

Sulphur Springs returns to the court today at 5 p.m. in the second round of the tournament.

If they win, they will play at noon tomorrow with the championship game scheduled for 6 p.m. If they lose, then they will play in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m.

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