|Wildcats continue winning streak against Pollock Central|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Dec. 2, 2006 - QUINLAN - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats found just the right time to play their best game of the year Friday night during the second round of the Quinlan Ford Panther Hoop Magic Tournament.
The Wildcats trailed 42-40 with under four minutes remaining and
picked up their sixth straight win with a 52-46 thriller over the Pollock Central Bulldogs to advance to the third round against the Lufkin Hudson Hornets. The semifinal game was scheduled for 1 p.m. with the championship game scheduled for 7 p.m.
The loser will play in the third-place contest at 5:30 p.m.
"The one thing about these kids is that they don't give up. We had some things go wrong here and there and these guys play hard. I think this was our best basketball game of the year," said SSHS coach Rusty Harden.
"This was a good opponent and this game could have gone either way.
We were able to make our free-throws down the stretch, and I am tickled
Bradley Washington led the Wildcats with a team-high 17 points, three
rebounds and one block, while sophomore Colten Nash had his best game of the season with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, five boards, one steal and two assists.
"Colten had a coming out party tonight. That kid can flat-out play and he did a great job of attacking their No. 21 (Chris Hicks)," the coach said.
Sulphur Springs shot 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from the charity stripe
compared to 4-of-4 for the Bulldogs. The Wildcats were 20-of-45 (44.4 percent) from the field compared to 17-of-43 (39.5 percent) for Pollock Central.
Senior Drew Biggerstaff was the main reason for the scoring run as he
had the final five points of the game going 5-for-6 at the charity stripe and finished with five points, four rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block.
"After I made the first two free throws, we came out of the timeout
and in the huddle I said 'Guys I can make these free-throws. If they throw the ball in and we get the turnover or whatever and we throw the ball in, give the ball to me and I can make these free throws. I can put the game away.' The team was totally behind me and that's what I did," Biggerstaff said.
Harden said with the game on the line he wanted a player like Biggerstaff to be the one to put the game out of reach.
"I told them to take care of the ball down the stretch," the coach said. "You do want a player that is not afraid for the basketball and can gain confidence to go to the line and sink the free throws."
Pollock Central jumped out to an early 14-8 lead on a bucket by Johnson off of an assist from Treylyn Smith as SSHS went 4-of-13 from the field in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Nash scored eight points and gave Sulphur Springs a 19-16 lead on an assist from Andrew Panter with 4:38 remaining.
Following a 3-pointer by Kyle Cook to tie the game at, 19-19, Panter and Nash connected again this time with Panter scoring on a lay-up in traffic with 3:41 remaining for the 21-19 lead.
Nash scored the final four points of the quarter to send both teams
into the locker room tied at 25-25.
"We had the mind-set that we are the best team here. We just have to
keep thinking that way," Biggerstaff said. "We play harder than anybody on the court every game.� We want to go out and put so much pressure on the defense that they do not know what to do."
In the second half, Sulphur Springs held a four-point lead on two different occasions as Tyrick Rollison scored on an offensive putback with 2:35 remaining for a 34-30 lead, and then Nash gave SSHS a 38-34 lead with a jumper at the 50-second mark of the quarter.
PCHS went into the fourth quarter with the momentum as Jacoby Bias
nailed back-to-back 3-pointers for a 40-38 lead at the buzzer.
In the final quarter, the Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 14-6 as Pollock Central shot 2-of-8 from the field and 2-of-2 at the charity stripe.
Washington gave SSHS a lead it would never relinquish with a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 43-42 advantage with 3:25 remaining in the game.
With the team now at 6-0 on the season, Harden said the Wildcats are starting to understand what he wants and is playing as a team every single night.
"I told the kids if I am going to be associated with this team I was going to give them everything that I have got. I will give them everything that I have and the kids have been doing that in class, on the court and whatever else they do," he said. "I know we are getting better and better every single night."