|Wildcats can't finish off first half lead|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Jan. 21, 2007 - PARIS - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats found out what it means to play a full 32 minutes Friday night in a 47-41 loss to the Paris Wildcats.
After heading into the locker room with a 22-12 lead at the half, Sulphur Springs was outscored by Paris, 35-19, in the second half to take the win.
"Our game plan was to slow them down and pack it inside and let them score, and we did a great job of that in the first half," said SSHS coach Rusty Harden. "I guarantee at halftime Brock (Blassingame) was telling them that we have got to get up and down the floor and attack the bucket.
"In the second half, they did that and they followed up on some rebounds and some one-and-one free throws and they executed better than we did."
For the 11th time this season, Wildcats senior post Bradley Washington was his team's leading scorer with 13 points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist, while Tyrick Rollison had nine points, eight rebounds, one steal and one assist. Ladarius Harrison had a near double-double with eight points, 13 boards, two assists and one steal.
In the first half, SSHS (16-6, 1-2 in district) controlled the tempo against Paris and forced them into seven turnovers as they shot 6-of-26 from the field in the opening half.
With Paris leading 6-4 on a bucket by Marshall Carrell off an assist from Keon Furtch, the Wildcats got buckets from Harrison and Colten Nash along with a 3-pointer from Rollison to take an 11-6 lead into the second quarter.
SSHS continued to build on its lead in the second period as Washington scored six of his 10 first-half points in the quarter. Sulphur Springs had its biggest lead at 22-12 on a layup by Washington with 33 seconds remaining.
In the second half, Paris started to pick up the pressure and held Sulphur Springs scoreless for over three minutes while going on a 9-0 run behind buckets from Courtney Jackson - who finished with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds - Jordan Fields, Decedric Sims, a dunk by Marshall Carrell and a three throw from Furtch to pull to within 26-21.
Nash then ended the run with an offensive putback following a Harrison miss with 2:18 remaining in the quarter.
"We had opportunities with some close shots during that run," the coach said. "It is just basketball, and you have to step up and make the shot and we didn't do that."
Following the basket by Nash, Paris went on a 7-0 run to take a 29-28 lead on a layup by Furtch - who finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, four steals and two assists - before Andrew Panter nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc for a 31-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, Paris relied on the play of Jackson and Furtch as they combined for 16 of the teams 18 points in the final quarter to pull out the victory.
Sulphur Springs had its final lead of the game with 4:05 remaining as Washington nailed a free throw for the 36-35 advantage. Paris then went on a 12-5 run the remainder of the game.
SSHS shot 17-of-52 (32.7 percent) from the field compared to 19-of-54 (35.2 percent) and went 5-of-10 from the charity stripe compared to 8-of-18 for Paris.
SSHS will travel to Texas High (11-9, 1-2) Tuesday night in a battle of third place teams as Texas High defeated Lindale 69-54 in Lindale Friday night.
"We are going to go to Texas High and try to slow them down and try to be in the game to win," Harden said. "They are going to shoot good up there and they are going to play good.
"Our first part of district is tough and after the first four games we will have four of the five at home. If we can win one on the road, we will be fine and this was one we had an opportunity to win."
SSHS 61, Paris 51
Johnathan Lee scored a game-high 18 points for the Wildcats and Keedrick Dial also scored in double figures for Sulphur Springs with 15 points.
Sulphur Springs (2-1 in district) held a 31-24 lead at the half and a 46-33 lead after three quarters of play.
SSHS 21 10 15 15 -61
Paris 8 16 9 18 -51
SSHS - Johnathan Lee 18, Keedrick Dial 15, Dequalin Evans 9, Darrell Franklin 4, Joseph McCann 2, Anthony Mills 9, Kaylon Page 2, Chris Young 2.
Paris - Johnson 8, Penny 7, Mallory 3, Stallings 5, Rollerson 11, Martin 17.
Paris 62, SSHS 37
The Wildcats fell to 1-2 in district play as Jacob Corona led the team with 18 points.