Wildcats play solidly in beating Tigers

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Dec. 5, 2007 - After a second-place finish in the Quinlan Ford Hoop Magic Tournament last weekend, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats returned home Tuesday with a solid performance in a 67-55 win over Commerce at Wildcat Gym.

"We had some good practice time and the tournament was good for us," said SSHS head coach Braughn Curtis. "I got to see some film of our games and see them after school and the football is now starting to get out of their systems. We are starting to learn the fundamentals of our press and getting back on defense."

The Wildcats (8-1) had a team-high 14 points from Jonathan Lee off the bench to go along with three rebounds, two steals and one block. Teammates Tyrick Rollison had 12 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals, and Bryant "Day Day" Jackson had 11 points, two rebounds, one steal and one assist.

"I don't know how Jonathan gets all of those points but he is getting after rebounds and running the floor with transition buckets and working hard in the press. He has been a good asset for us right now," the coach said. "Ty is irreplaceable as far as quickness goes and confidence with the ball and his court vision. He is a leader on the football field and it just translates over here to the gym.

"I thought Day Day played well. The other day in the tournament he was sick and didn't feel well but he bounced back and now he is coming on strong."

The Wildcats opened up the first quarter of play shooting 10-of-15 from the field to take a 24-13 lead into the second quarter. Rollison led the Wildcats with nine points and gave SSHS a 19-8 lead on a 3-point play off of a fast break layup and free throw with 3:30 remaining in the quarter.

Commerce found a way to get to within eight points at 19-11 on an offensive putback by Cameron Nelson, but the Tigers could not get any closer throughout the contest.

In the second quarter, Commerce hit 10-of-12 free throws, led by Anthony Henry and Derrick Hines. The duo went 8-for-8 in the quarter as Henry scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while Hines had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists.

With Commerce down 42-31 at the intermission, the Tigers came out in the third quarter and cut the lead to three at 42-39 on a 3-pointer from Henry, a fast break layup from Hines off an assist from Arin Henly and a 3-pointer from R.J. Harrison before SSHS took control of the game.

"At halftime, I told our guys that they are not done and they are going to get after it and claw back at us," Curtis said. "I told them to stay calm and do the fundamentals like rotate and get back and not allow easy baskets, and it worked out for us."

SSHS junior Colton Nash ended the Commerce run with an old-fashioned 3-point play with five minutes remaining in the quarter to give SSHS a 45-39 lead.

SSHS finished the game shooting 29-of-56 from the field for 51.8 percent and turned the ball over 18 times. Commerce was almost identical shooting 19-of-39 from the field for 48.7 percent and turned the ball over 18 times.

Curtis said the turnover numbers are still high, but the team is starting to get closer to his magic number.

"That is right around the number of 15 that we want in a game," Curtis said. "With 18 turnovers, that is still high but if we can get it around 15 turnovers, then it is good. We are still making silly turnovers where we are trying to stall the ball and take time off the clock and making bad decisions with the ball."

Sulphur Springs will play in the Wills Point Kiwanis Tournament at 2 p.m. Thursday against the Trinity Christian-Addison Trojans, a team that defeated them 59-48 last year during the tournament. With a win, SSHS will play Forney or McKinney Boyd at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. With a loss, they will play Ferris or Greenville at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the consolation bracket.

Junior Varsity

SSHS 39, Commerce 15

Sulphur Springs (1-4) left Wildcat Gym with their first win of the season as Jordan Lee led the team with 11 points.

The Wildcats held a 21-1 lead at the intermission and a 33-6 lead after three quarters.

Gage Williams had eight points for the Wildcats, while Jacob Corona and Alex Lucco had six points. Charles Carns added four points, while Jonathan Tsai and Sawyer Sinclair had two points each.

SSHS will play Rockwall Heath in the opening round of the Wills Point tournament at 12:45 p.m. Thursday.

Freshmen

Daingerfield 57, Sulphur Springs 36

Kaylan Alexander led the Wildcats (2-3) with 15 points, while teammate Alvin Frazier had 10 points.

For Daingerfield, Tyler Boyd and Keyarris Garrett had a game-high 18 points.

The freshman will play in the Wills Point Kiwanis Classic against Forney at 2 p.m. Thursday at the junior high.

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