|Wildcats need overtime for first district win|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Jan. 28, 2006 - PARIS - In a must-win game for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats to sustain their hope for a playoff chance in District 12-4A, the Wildcats picked up their first district win, 52-45 in overtime over the North Lamar Panthers Friday night.
"The style that they play is very similar to the style that we play, and when those two clash a little bit it becomes an ugly game, and the team that plays the hardest is going to come out on top," said SSHS first-year coach Jeff Carroll. "I can't say enough about these kids because they played so hard with the amount of charges that we took."
Sulphur Springs (7-19, 1-4 in district play) surpassed their win total of last season in which they finished 6-21 overall and 1-9 in district under coach Steve Glover and look to open the second half of district play at Paris on Tuesday night.
Paris won the opening contest of the district season, 70-54, at Wildcat Gym and Carroll said the rebounding edge needs to be worked on this week.
"We've got to play harder than they do, and if we do that than anything can happen. We have to make sure that we rebound a little bit better than last time because I think they out-rebounded us by 15-to-20 last time," he said. "If we can keep them off the glass then we will be there in the end."
Senior Josh Riley had his best game of the district season since joining the Wildcats with 12 points, five rebounds, four steals, one block and two assists off the bench.
Carroll praised the play of the senior who also was credited with two charges in the game on the defensive end.
"The thing that is so great about Josh is that he comes in with great character and passion and plays hard and those things just make our team better," the coach said. "I can't say enough about what he has done since he has been here and I just wish he would have been here since November."
The Wildcats also received 11 points from three different players in Jay Pope, Jose Vargas and Day Day Porter. Vargas led the team in rebounds with six.
North Lamar was led by sophomore post Qualon Fort, who scored 18 points, pulled down five rebounds and had one steal. Justin Thomas led the team in rebounds with six while also scoring six points off of the bench.
Sulphur Springs fell behind 11-6 after the first quarter as Fort nailed a jumper off of a Justin Collard assist with 21 seconds remaining in the quarter.
But Sulphur Springs was just getting warmed up and came out in the second quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 16-11 lead as Drew Biggerstaff scored all four of his points during the run. He also had four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Carroll said Riley and Biggerstaff helped the team get their momentum on two big defensive plays in the game.
"Josh and Drew were laying out on the floor for two loose balls and those were some of the biggest plays in the game because they were huge momentum turners in the game," he said.
In the second half, neither team scored for the first four minutes of the third quarter before Fort scored on the old-fashioned 3-point play off an assist from junior Britt Melton and free throw for a 26-24 deficit.
The Wildcats got on the board as Biggerstaff hit the first of two free throws with 2:44 remaining and then Jay Pope nailed a 3-pointer off a Riley assist for a 30-24 lead.
Sulphur Springs went 1-of-10 shooting from the field in the third quarter and 18-of-51 for the game for 35.3 percent, compared to 18-of-42 shooting (42.9 percent) for the Panthers.
The lead went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter as their were six different lead changes and three ties in sending the game to overtime as North Lamar's Justin Miller nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to tie the game at 40-40 with 10 seconds remaining.
In the extra frame, the Wildcats jumped out on a 5-1 run as Riley knocked down a 3-pointer off the glass on a Biggerstaff assist for a 45-41 lead with 1:18 remaining.
North Lamar battled back and cut the deficit to 46-45 on a Melton jumper with 28 seconds left, but Sulphur Springs ended the game on a 6-0 run to earn the win.
"It is a big district win and the thing that we have to understand is that North Lamar has played a lot of the district teams close like we have because they play similar styles that we do," Carroll said. "We have to fight through this and take this game and make this a building block."
SSHS 72, North Lamar 48
The Wildcats (11-9, 1-3) jumped out to a 21-9 lead after the first quarter and never looked back against Paris.
Four players scored in double figures for Sulphur Springs led by Tyrick Rollison with 14 points, Ladarius Brown with 13 points and DeQualin Evans and Rashad Hall with 10 points each.
North Lamar was led by McDowell with 13 points.
SSHS - DeQualin Evans 10, Rashad Hall 10, Andrew Panter 8, Tyrick Rollison 14, Ladarius Brown 13, Cameron Cash 3, Demarcus Johnson 5, Colten Nash 6, Joseph McCann 3.
North Lamar - Taylor 1, McDowell 13, Vanderburg 2, Ford 3, Hayes 4, Clayton 3, Hill 19, Booker 3.
North Lamar 48, SSHS 43
Sulphur Springs (8-7, 1-3 in district) held a 24-23 lead heading into halftime but could not close out the game in the second half of play.
Jace Jackson led the way for the Wildcats with 14 points, while teammate Darryl Franklin scored 13 points.
North Lamar was led in scoring by Beal with 14 points.
SSHS - Johnny McSheffery 5, Joe Ross 5, Jonathan Lee 2, Darryl Franklin 13, Jace Jackson 14, Stephen Kramer 5.
North Lamar - Sellars 6, Johnson 3, Moody 3, Parsons 2, Beal 14, Hawkins 4, Lane 8, McDowell 8.