Wildcats lose lead in final 85 seconds against Texas High
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Jan. 24, 2007 - TEXARKANA - This one had to hurt for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats.

With the Wildcats holding a 64-54 lead with 1:25 remaining in the game, the Texas High Tigers outscored SSHS, 16-2, over the final 85 seconds for a 70-66 come-from-behind win at the Tiger Center.

"The only thing that bothers me is that the officials let them murder us down the stretch. My kids played hard and put everything on the line tonight," said SSHS coach Rusty Harden. "I give them credit because No. 14 (Leon Harris) had to make those shots to tie the game and he did those things to help out the cause."

Texas High was led by a game-high 37 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists performance from Leon Harris while teammate Kerry Manning pitched in 12 points to go along with one rebound and two steals. Harris shot 14-of-32 from the field.

For the Wildcats, senior guard Drew Biggerstaff led the team with 20 points, while senior post Ladarius Harrison had a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, two assists and one block. Bradley Washington recorded 13 points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist.

"It was big of Biggerstaff to shoot that way and our kids played good enough to win, and we should have won," Harden said.

The Tigers took the final lead with 10 seconds remaining when Manning missed the back end of two free throws and Harris recovered the miss and scored the easy putback for a 67-66 lead.

"He (Manning) didn't intentionally miss it and we needed to get the rebound," Harden said. "The thing that makes me mad is that Drew got drilled on our end on the following possession and they didn't call it."

The two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the entire contest as neither team held more than a 10-point lead.

SSHS (16-7 overall, 1-3 in District 11-4A) fell behind 10-4 on a layup by Harris before storming back to take a 13-10 lead on two buckets by Harrison and a free throw and layup by Biggerstaff with 1:29 remaining.

In the second quarter, the Sulphur Springs defense picked up the pressure and went on an 8-0 run to take a 31-27 lead behind a 3-pointer from Tyrick Rollison, an old-fashioned 3-point play from Harrison and two free throws from Washington before Harris scored a jumper to end the run.

After holding a 34-33 lead at the intermission, both teams came out in the third quarter flat as Sulphur Springs held a 45-40 lead heading into the final period.

The Wildcats seemed to be in control late in the fourth quarter when Biggerstaff scored eight straight points on two technical free throws, a 3-pointer and then a 4-point play for a 61-50 lead.

The Wildcats hit six 3-pointers - with four of them coming from Biggerstaff and one each from Rollison and Harrison - and out-rebounded Texas High 43-31. The Wildcats shot 22-of-56 from the field compared to 25-of-63 for the Tigers.

Both teams shot almost identical from the free throw line as Sulphur Springs went 16-of-22 (72.7 percent), compared to 13-of-16 (81.2 percent) for Texas High.

With Mount Pleasant, North Lamar and Paris tied for first in district with 3-1 records and Texas High at 2-2, the Wildcats are in fifth at 1-3 with North Lamar coming to town on Friday.

"We talked about the three road games and finding ways to pick up a win on the road," Harden said. "Tonight we definitely had our chance, and I think we are still fine at 1-3 right now. We got to bounce back and be ready to play against North Lamar."

JUNIOR VARSITY

Texas High 78, SSHS 62

Sulphur Springs had three players in double figures as Johnathan Lee and Keedrick Dial scored 15 points while Dequalin Evans added 14 points.

Carlos Harrison scored seven points, Kaylon Page and Darrell Franklin each scored four points and Joseph McCann added three points.

FRESHMAN

Texas High 103, SSHS 72

The Sulphur Springs freshman fell to 1-3 in district play with a tough loss.

Bryant Jackson led Sulphur Springs with 23 points while teammate Lemarcus Kendricks added 22 points. Jordan Lee scored nine points, Jacob Corona scored eight points, Joey Davis added four points.

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