Wildcats have tough road to playoffs
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Feb. 7, 2007 - With two games remaining in the district season, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats have some work to do for a playoff appearance this year.
After falling to the Paris Wildcats 44-31 Tuesday night at Wildcat Gym, SSHS sits in a tie for fourth place with North Lamar at 4-4 in District 11-4A. The Wildcats face Texas High at home for Senior Night on Friday and then travel to North Lamar for the regular season finale next Tuesday.
"We are still right in the middle of the playoff race and it depends on what we want to do the final two games," said SSHS coach Rusty Harden. "We are excited to play Texas High, and that is a game that we need to win if we want to get in the playoffs. I told the kids that we need to get this win against T-High because it is going to be tough at North Lamar."
With the loss to Paris, the Wildcats are a game out of second but could still win out and not get into the playoffs due to the tie-breaker situation.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats were outplayed on the offensive glass as they gave up 17 offensive rebounds to Paris and were out-rebounded 38-18 the entire contest.
"Our game plan was to have them shoot it from the outside and pack it inside when the shot goes up to keep them off of the boards," Harden said. "We tried to do that, but those guys are so athletic. I think our kids tried tonight, and we played hard but we struggled tonight."
Drew Biggerstaff was the leading scorer for Sulphur Springs with eight points, four rebounds and five steals, while Tyrick Rollison bucketed six points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
SSHS (19-8) also had a hard time shooting the basketball as they went 12-of-42 (28.6 percent) compared to 16-of-44 (36.4 percent) for Paris.
Sulphur Springs jumped out to a 5-2 lead the first five minutes of the game as Aaron Williams drained a 3-pointer, followed by a jumper from Paris forward Courtney Jackson, and then Bradley Washington nailed two free throws with 3:02 remaining.
The Wildcats held an early 9-5 lead after the first quarter when Washington had a putback basket with 41 seconds remaining.
Paris then went on a 5-0 run to take its first lead of the game on an offensive putback by Jordan Fields and then an old-fashioned 3-point play from Jackson for a 10-9 lead with 5:11 remaining. Jackson had a double-double with a game-high 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Sulphur Springs held its final lead of the game with 2:15 remaining in the first half when Washington went high for an offensive putback for a 13-12 lead.
Paris held its biggest lead in the second half at eight points, 26-18, with 2:35 remaining when they capped off a 8-0 run with a basket by Payton Carrell off an assist from brother Marshall.
SSHS was able to battle back and head into the fourth quarter down 27-25 when Biggerstaff nailed his second 3-pointer off an assist from Rollison with time running out.
Tied at 27-27 with 5:55 remaining, Paris outscored SSHS 17-4 the remainder of the game and went 5-of-12 from the free throw line during that stretch. Paris finished the game 11-of-23 at the charity stripe for 47.8 percent, compared to 4-of-4 for SSHS.
"They didn't make their free throws tonight and that didn't hurt us a lot during the game," the coach said. "During that stretch, I had to keep my big guys in there and they were able to get offensive rebounds and that really hurt us."
Notes: Friday's game will be the last home game for Washington, Biggerstaff, Williams, Ladarius Harrison, Daymon Nash and Demarcus Johnson. ... They will be introduced before the varsity contest against Texas High. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
SSHS 72, Paris 62
The Wildcats had three players score in double figures in their win over Paris.
Johnathan Lee led the team with 22 points, while Kedrick Dial and Rashad Hall scored 16 points each.
Sulphur Springs led 32-20 at the half and 51-40 after three quarters.
Paris 9 11 20 17 -62
SSHS 16 16 19 21 -72
Paris - Johnson 3, Mallory 1, Martin 12, Jenkins 14, Green 4, Bledsaw 7, Mitchell 3, King 17.
SSHS - Johnathan Lee 22, Kedrick Dial 16, DeQualin Evans 7, Anthony Mills 7, Kaylon Page 4, Rashad Hall 16.
SSHS 58, Daingerfield 44
The Sulphur Springs freshman faced Daingerfield because the Paris freshman were not able to field a team.
Bryant Jackson led Sulphur Springs with 22 points while Lemarcus Kendricks added 13 points.
Sulphur Springs led 13-12 after one quarter, trailed 23-17 at the half and led 47-34 after three quarters.
DHS 12 11 11 10 -44
SSHS 13 4 20 21 -58
Daingerfield - Watson 14, Evans 4, Chism 12, Peters 6, Wobbington 8.
SSHS - Jacob Corona 7, Bryant Jackson 22, Lemarcus Kendricks 13, Joey Davis 6, Justin Finley 2, Colby Suggs 2, Jordan Lee 6.