Wildcats lose first game, bounce back for third in Hoop Magic Tournament
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Dec. 4, 2006 - QUINLAN - Following their first loss of the season against Lufkin Hudson on Saturday, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats bounced back in their final game at the Quinlan Ford Panther Hoop Magic Tournament against Little Elm for a third-place finish.

The Wildcats lost 54-42 to Hudson in the tournament's semifinal, and then defeated Little Elm in double overtime 67-66 to finish with a 7-1 record for the season.

Senior Bradley Washington was named to the All-Tournament team as he averaged 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds,and 1.0 block per game for the Wildcats in four games.

"That was good to have Brad on the All-Tournament team and they choose kids that play hard and do a good job out there," said SSHS head coach Rusty Harden. "We have at least four or five other players that could have been on there."

SSHS returns to the court at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Commerce

"I don't know much about Commerce but I know that they are athletic, and they are better than they have been in the past," the coach said. "They are going to be athletic and tough at their place."

THIRD PLACE GAME

SSHS 67, Little Elm 66 (2OT)

Sulphur Springs sophomore Tyrick Rollison splashed in the game-winning 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining in the second overtime to give the Wildcats their final basket of the game.

After a timeout by the Lobos with six seconds left, Little Elm's Thomas Stouts went for a jumper at the buzzer and missed as the ball rolled out.

Ladarius Harrison gave Sulphur Springs a 55-51 lead with under 20 seconds remaining in regulation before Little Elm's Cole Beasley recovered an offensive rebound and nailed a 3-pointer with under two seconds remaining. He was fouled on the play and made the free throw by Wildcat guard Aaron Williams to send the game into overtime.

Beasley finished with a game-high 27 points for the Lobos as he went 12-of-17 from the field with two rebounds and five steals.

Drew Biggerstaff led the way for the Wildcats with 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting and was 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Williams had 11 points, one board, one assist and one steal in the game.

In the third quarter, the Wildcats outscored Little Elm, 15-4, as Sulphur Springs tied the game at 38-38 with 3:15 remaining on a basket by Rollison off of a Colten Nash assist.

In the first overtime, Biggerstaff gave SSHS the lead with under 30 seconds remaining on a basket off of a Andrew Panter assist for a 61-59 lead.

In their first three games of the tournament, the Wildcats were averaging 12 turnovers per game and against Little Elm they had 11 turnovers after the first half. SSHS finished with 23 turnovers compared to 24 for the Lobos.

"I think this game we were disappointed because we lost the first one and then they had their heads down and at the beginning of the game. They (Little Elm) wanted it and we looked like we didn't want any part of it," the coach said.

SSHS shot 25-of-43 for 58.1 percent in the game compared to 25-of-47 (53.2 percent) for the Lobos.

Lufkin Hudson 54, SSHS 42

In the opening game of the championship day, the Wildcats came out flat as they shot 2-of-8 in the opening quarter and fell behind, 13-6.

Nash scored their first bucket with under five minutes left in the quarter as Hudson jumped out to a 9-0 lead.

"That didn't bother me that much and I knew that we would get back into the game," the coach said. "We came out kind of excited and I knew we would get a lead and we did there in the third, but I wasn't happy with the way we started the game."

Sulphur Springs cut the lead to three points at the half, 26-23, as Harrison scored on an assist from Rollison before Hudson's Tanner Hines nailed two free throws to end the half. Hines finished with 12 points, two rebounds and four assists.

Justin Guerra scored a game-high 17 points for the Hornets while also grabbing seven rebounds, two steals and one block.

The Wildcats were led by Washington with 11 points, six rebounds, one assist and one block. Williams and Harrison each finished with 10 points and Harrison had nine rebounds.

In the third quarter, SSHS had its first lead of the game at 32-29 on a bucket by Williams with 2:35 remaining, but were outscored 10-2 the remainder of the quarter for a 39-34 deficit.

The Wildcats finished with 13 turnovers and Harden said the team needs to work on handling the ball better throughout the game.

"I would like to have zero turnovers but I was fine with 13 once again," the coach said. "We lost to a good team and they played very well. We definitely could have beaten that team but things just didn't go our way today."

Lufkin Hudson shot 21-of-42 from the field for 50 percent, compared to 17-of-50 for 34 percent for the Wildcats. The Wildcats had more rebounds (35-26) and more assists (11-9) in the contest.

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