|Wildcats end eight game losing streak|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Jan. 4, 2006 - The streak is over for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats.
After losing eight straight games dating back to the Wills Point tournament, the Wildcats (4-15) took care of the Wills Point Tigers, 56-53, in overtime at Wildcat Gym.
"It is a huge win and for us to come out and play against a well-established team with a great coach and a great player in Chris Booker," said SSHS head coach Jeff Carroll. "We did a great job of shutting him down and playing hard, and anytime you get a win on your home court it is a big win."
In 19 games this season, this was only the third home game for the Wildcats, and Carroll said home court advantage has helped them.
"Our kids have been playing well at home, and we haven't been at home for so long. It gave us a chance in front of our home crowd, and the crowd was really into the game," Carroll said.
The turning point of the game occurred on the final play of regulation for the Wildcats as Sulphur Springs was down 47-44 with nine seconds left after Jeff Kramer missed a pair of free throws.
After a Wills Point (15-6) timeout, senior Jay Pope drained the game-tying 3-pointer off an assist from Josh Danzer to send the game into overtime.
Carroll praised the play of Pope, who finished with 12 points, two rebounds and four steals.
"Jay has made some big 3-pointers for us and he keeps going for us," he said. "Coach (Lance) Rainey and myself were trying to call a timeout. I saw the ball go to Jay and I just grabbed him (Rainey) and pulled him back so that we wouldn't call it, and Jay just knocked it down."
The Wildcats kept the game close throughout the first half as neither team held more than a five-point lead as Wills Point senior Chris Booker nailed a jumper with 20 seconds remaining in the half for a 27-22 lead heading into the locker room.
Booker finished the game with 13 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists for the Tigers. Teammate Kasey Mayfield pitched in 14 points, three rebounds and one steal.
In the third quarter, Wills Point extended its lead to 33-23 on a bucket by Josh Rush off an assist from Eric Smith with 5:25 remaining.
The Wildcats closed out the third quarter on a 6-2 run to cut the deficit to 36-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
Sulphur Springs shot 17-of-62 for 27.4 percent, while the Tigers shot 18-of-52 for 34.6 percent, but SSHS shot 18-of-36 at the line for 50 percent compared to 15-of-22 for 68.2 percent for Wills Point.
Sulphur Springs junior Chris Young was the leading scorer in the game with 17 points, nine rebounds, three steals and one assist off of the bench for the Wildcats, while Drew Biggerstaff ended with 11 points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist.
The Wildcats will return to the court Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. against Texarkana Pleasant Grove, and Carroll said this stretch of games could send the team in the right direction.
"That is one of the great things about this schedule is we get to stay at home for the next four games, and we get Paris coming in here next week for the start of district, " the coach said. "They are not going to know what they are going to run into when the come in here hopefully."
Biggerstaff said if the team continues to play together and can put together a winning streak, a playoff run could be in the cards for the Wildcats.
"If we could do that which is very possible, that is just that much further that we have to go into district and into the playoffs," he said. "A five-game winning streak like that would be great and I think if we can do that, we will never know what can happen in district."
SSHS 61, WPHS 49
Rashad Hall scored a team-high 18 points for the Wildcats, while Tyrick Rollison scored 15 points and Dequalin Evans scored 12 points in their win Tuesday night.
Weaver had a game-high 19 points for the Tigers.
Wills Point - Brown 7, Wilbourn 2, Flowers 2, Spencer 1, Brockway 10, Weaver 19, Hickman 2, Morrison 2.
Sulphur Springs - Tyrick Rollison 15, DeQualin Evans 12, Rashad Hall 18, Andrew Panter 6, Demarcus Johnson 4, LaDarius Brown 4.
Wills Point 57, SSHS 53
Jonathan Lee scored 10 points for the Wildcats, while teammates Jace Jackson and Johnny McSheffery scored nine points each.
The freshman return to the court next Tuesday night against the Royse City Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. at Wildcat Gym.
Sulphur Springs - Jace Jackson 9, Clay Hansford 2, Jonathan Lee 10, Johnny McSheffery 9, Teren Wright 8, Stephen Kramer 6, Darrell Franklin 8.
SSHS 65, MP Chapel Hill 47
MOUNT PLEASANT - The Wildcats (6-4) were led in scoring by Jackson with 19 points, Rashad Hall with 17 points, and Lee with 10 points in their win last Friday.