Wildcats win despite tough shooting night
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Feb. 3, 2007 - LINDALE - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats battled through a tough shooting night during a 36-32 victory over the Lindale Eagles Friday night.
"The thing I told them is that this might be the difference in the playoffs or not," said SSHS coach Rusty Harden. "They did a great job of handling the basketball and taking time off of the clock late and making them foul us and making free throws, and that was huge."
With the win, the Wildcats (19-7, 4-3 in District 11-4A) are in a tie for second place with three games remaining. SSHS plays at home Tuesday against Paris, which defeated them 47-41 in Paris during the first round.
"I think our defense is doing pretty good right now," the coach said. "We are going to have to keep Paris off of the boards because that is what hurt us last time."
On Friday, sophomore Tyrick Rollison led the team in scoring for the second straight game with 10 points, two steals, one rebound and one assist. Teammate Aaron Williams had eight points, three boards, three assists and one steal for the Wildcats.
Sulphur Springs struggled from the field throughout the contest against a physical Lindale defense. They managed to shoot 32.5 percent from the field (13-of-40) including a meager 29 percent (7-of-24) from 2-point range. Lindale shot 35 percent (14-of-40), including a 1-for-10 clip from beyond the arc.
"We struggled the second half on offense but played great defense," Harden said after being outscored 15-12 in the second half. "I don't care if it is 2-1 as long as we win the game."
After Lindale took the lead on the opening basket of the game by Cameron Dossey off an assist from Logan Gilley, the Wildcats took a 3-2 lead when Aaron Williams nailed his first of two 3-pointers during the night.
The Eagles found a way to contain Wildcats senior post Bradley Washington - who scored his only basket with 6:18 remaining in the first quarter on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. He finished with three points on 1-of-6 shooting to go along with three rebounds, two assists and one steal. That ended an 11-game streak of double figure scoring for Washington.
Rollison gave SSHS a 12-6 lead late in the first quarter on a jumper before the Wildcats were held scoreless for the next 4:25. The drought was broken as Drew Biggerstaff went coast-to-coast for a layup and a 14-7 lead with 7:15 remaining in the second quarter.
The Wildcats' biggest lead came with 2:45 remaining in the first half as Biggerstaff nailed a 3-pointer for a 21-13 lead. Biggerstaff finished with seven points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist.
Following a jumper by Rollison for a 26-19 lead, the Wildcats went on a four-minute span of not scoring a basket before Colten Nash had a putback basket to give the Wildcats a 28-25 lead after three quarters.
Lindale (16-10, 0-7 in district) looked to have the momentum for their first district win at the start of the final quarter as Cedric Jones, who scored a game-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds, scored a putback basket and then Jordan Sanders nailed a 3-pointer followed by a jumper from Jacob Holman to give Lindale a 32-28 lead with five minutes remaining.
The Wildcats then closed out the game with an 8-0 run as Williams nailed a 3-pointer, followed by a layup from Ladarius Harrison and two free throws from Drew Biggerstaff and a free throw from Harrison.
Harden said with only three games remaining, the Wildcats know what they need to do to get into the playoffs.
"It would be great to win out. I told the guys that we don't have to worry about anybody else, but we need to be able to take care of our business," he said.
"We said we are not going to overlook anybody. Everybody picked us at the bottom of the barrel and everybody probably thinks that we are lucky this year. My kids come out every night and don't overlook anybody, and we are going to come out and play hard."
SSHS 52, Lindale 44 OT
The Wildcat junior varsity needed overtime to pick up a victory Tuesday night.
Both teams were tied at 20-20 at the half, Lindale led 35-30 after three, and both teams were tied at 41-41 after regulation.
Johnathan Lee and Dequalin Evans led Sulphur Springs with 14 points each, while Rashad Hall added nine points.
SSHS 9 11 10 11 11 -52
Lindale 11 9 15 6 3 -44
SSHS - Johnathan Lee 14, Kedrick Dial 6, Dequalin Evans 14, Kaylon Page 2, Anthony Mills 4, Rashad Hall 9, Darrell Franklin 2, Joseph McCann 3.
Lindale - Scott 6, Kile 8, Cates 4, M. McDaniel 6, J. McDaniel 6, Nelson 2, Lawrence 12.
Lindale 50, SSHS 47
Lemarcus Kendricks led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points, while Joey Davis added 10 points in the loss.
Bryant Jackson scored eight points, Jacob Corona scored seven and Jordan Lee bucketed six points.