Wildcats down but not out with loss to Texas High

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Feb. 10, 2007 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats wrapped up Senior Night on the wrong side of the scoreboard Friday but still have a chance for a playoff berth with one game remaining.

The Wildcats lost to Texas High 63-53 at Wildcat Gym and face an important matchup Tuesday night at North Lamar.

"North Lamar is one of the worst places to try and pick up a win," said SSHS coach Rusty Harden. "We are going to go up there and prepare for them like it is a playoff game, and we are not going to give up the last game of the year, and we are going to play hard."

With Mount Pleasant losing to Paris 59-44, the Wildcats (19-9 overall, 4-5 in District 11-4A) are a game out of third to the Tigers (15-9, 5-4) heading into the regular season finale.

After splitting with Mount Pleasant during the regular season, SSHS has to beat North Lamar (18-13) and have Mount Pleasant lose to Lindale (17-12) at Lindale to tie for third and face a playoff to decide the third seed.

With 2:53 remaining in the game, the Wildcats looked like they would make their playoff chances easier with a 54-53 deficit after Ladarius Harrison found a streaking Tyrick Rollison for a layup. Rollison finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Harrison scored 12 points, pulled down eight rebounds with three steals and two assists.

The Tigers held SSHS scoreless the remainder of the game and went on a 10-0 run behind 3-of-4 free throws from Leon Harris - who scored 16 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks - and four points from Daniel Glover and a bucket from Van Grissom to put the game out of reach.

"We wanted to double team him (Harris) off of the screen tonight, but the thing was at their place those other guys did not play the way they did tonight," the coach said.

T-High had three other players in double figures as Kerry Manning and Glover scored 14 points each while Grissom added 10 points for the Tigers. Grissom had a near double-double as he pulled down nine rebounds.

Sulphur Springs was in the game throughout and never held more than a four-point lead the entire night after Texas High jumped out to a 5-4 lead before Rollison nailed the Wildcats only 3-pointer of the night, and then Colten Nash gave them a 9-5 lead midway through the first quarter. Nash recorded his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Wildcats went 1-for-11 from 3-point range during the game.

"We took some open shots during the game and some of those were 3-pointers," Harden said. "I told the kids that if you are going to take those shots, you have to make them in those situations."

After a 3-pointer by Manning gave Texas High a 29-25 lead, Nash sent the Wildcats into the locker room down 29-27 as he scored 10 first-half points.

SSHS took its final lead of the game, 31-29, early in the third quarter as Harrison went up high for the offensive putback.

"We were going to be in the ball game no matter what tonight," the coach said. "These kids are going to play hard and I know it sounds like a broken record. They are not happy but I told them to get their heads up and they have nothing to be ashamed of. They played a hard-fought ball game tonight."

The Wildcats shot 32 percent from the field (19-of-58) compared to 36 percent for Texas High (22-of-61) and were out-rebounded 40-37. Both teams shot almost identical from the free throw line as SSHS was 14-of-21, while Texas High was 14-of-20.

JUNIOR VARSITY

SSHS 60, Texas High 48

The Wildcats were led in scoring by Kedrick Dial with a game-high 27 points while Dequalin "Boo" Evans added 16 points.

Sulphur Springs trailed 33-21 at the half and held a 43-40 lead after three quarters.

SSHS wraps up the season Tuesday night at North Lamar.

Texas High 18 15 7 8 -48

SSHS 14 7 22 17 -60

Texas High - Tolliver 5, Pierce 16, Boone 4, Graffagnin 2, Brown 5, Lux 9.

SSHS - Kedrick Dial 27, Carlos Harrison 6, Kaylon Page 4, Dequalin Evans 16, Rashad Hall 3, Johnathan Lee 4.

FRESHMEN

Texas High 67, SSHS 41

Texas High took control of the game in the second and third quarters outscoring SSHS 41-10 during that stretch to take the win.

Lemacus Kendricks led the Wildcats with 16 points while Jacob Corona and Joey Davis added six points each.

Texas High was led by Forte with a game-high 21 points.

Texas High 13 20 21 13 -67

SSHS 13 6 4 18 -41

Texas High - Webb 3, Watts 7, Sampson 4, James 10, Williams 9, Boone 2, Soreson 6, Baker 3, Forte 21, Anderson 2.

SSHS - Jacob Corona 6, Bryant Jackson 5, Ross Hicks 2, Justin Findley 1, Joey Davis 6, Colby Suggs 2, Lemarcus Kendricks 16, Jordan Lee 3.

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