|Wildcats drop Senior Night to Panthers, 49-46|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Feb. 15, 2006 - In a game played for pride Tuesday night at Wildcat Gym, the North Lamar Panthers spoiled Senior Night for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats with a 49-46 season-ending victory.
"We just didn't get it done tonight. We struggled from the floor and we didn't shoot the ball very well," said SSHS first-year coach Jeff Carroll. "They came out and made some nice plays and they won the game, and I don't think we lost the game tonight. It was a tough way to end the season and I can't say enough about my seniors and the character they have and showed all season long."
After a Sulphur Springs timeout with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game, the Wildcats set up a final play for a game-tying 3-pointer by Josh Riley only to have it rattle out and North Lamar's Colt Holbert recovered the rebound to preserve the win.
"It was a play for either him or Jay to shoot the 3-pointer and it was for whichever one was going to be open at that time," the coach said. "Josh got a good look and it just didn't go down."
Riley finished with a team-high 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting, all of which were 3-pointers, along with two steals and one rebound, while senior Jay Pope scored nine points, pulled down four rebounds, had two steals and two assists. Senior Jeff Kramer had six points, four rebounds, two blocks and one assists while senior Jose Vargas had six points, six boards and two steals in his final game.
North Lamar had a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds from Qualon Fort, while Holbert had nine points, five boards, two assists and one steal.
The Wildcats (7-24, 1-9 in District 12-4A) opened up the first quarter shooting 8-of-14 from the field to take a 20-11 lead and held North Lamar scoreless for the final 2:40.
Sulphur Springs offensive game cooled off in the second quarter as the Wildcats were outscored 10-4 on buckets by Bradley Washington and Pope, but still held a 24-21 lead heading into the locker room.
Coming out of halftime, neither team led by more than four points as Wildcat sophomore Day Day Porter gave SSHS a 33-29 lead on a lay-up with 2:25 remaining.
North Lamar (7-22, 1-9) then tied the game back up at 33-33 as Fort had back-to-back baskets on assists by Justin Collard before Vargas gave SSHS the lead at 35-33 on an offensive rebound heading into the fourth quarter.
Sulphur Springs extended its lead in the fourth quarter to 40-33 on a basket by Pope with 5:40 remaining.
After two free throws by Kramer made the score 42-36, North Lamar went on a 9-0 run to take a 45-42 lead behind four points by Fort. Riley then tied the game at 45-45 with 2:02 remaining on a 3-pointer off of a Drew Biggerstaff assist.
Sulphur Springs shot 17-of-51 from the field for 33.3 percent, compared to 19-of-43 (44.2 percent) for North Lamar and out-rebounded the Panthers 32-28 in the game. The Wildcats also had more assists (10-8) and more steals (9-7).
Carroll said after the game the record was really not his main emphasis during the season, but making sure each player became better teammates and young men throughout the season.
"If we were 24-7 or 7-24 the goal of me and of the program is definitely not the wins-and-losses but just that we have the right character and we do what is right," he said. "I hope we made steps towards that goal and we made Sulphur Springs proud of their basketball team."
SSHS 73, NLHS 28
The Sulphur Springs Wildcats opened up the game with a stifling defense and held a 25-3 lead after the first quarter of play to take the win in their season finale Tuesday night.
Andrew Panter was the Wildcats leading scorer with 12 points while teammate Rashad Hall pitched in 11 points.
Hill led North Lamar with 13 points.
SSHS went 14-12 overall and 4-6 in district under coach Lance Rainey.
North Lamar - Booker 3, McDowell 1, Hill 13, Clayton 9, Wood 2.
SSHS - Tyrick Rollison 7, Rashad Hall 11, Ladarius Brown 8, Kaylon Page 9, Colten Nash 9, Demarcus Johnson 4, Andrew Panter 12, Justin Blount 7, Joseph McCann 2.
SSHS 56, NLHS 44
The freshman (11-10, 3-7) wrapped up their season on a winning note Tuesday night at Wildcat Gym as six players scored for the Wildcats.
Jace Jackson led the team with a game-high 17 points, while classmate Jonathan Lee scored 13 points.
Thomas scored 12 points for North Lamar.
North Lamar - Beal 3, Sellers 11, Johnson 9, Moody 3, Parsons 3, Thomas 12, McDowell 3.
SSHS - Johnny McSheffery 8, Jace Jackson 17, Stephen Kramer 7, Clay Hansford 2, Jonathan Lee 13, Darryl Franklin 9.