Pay Back

Wildcats stay in playoff race with win over Mount Pleasant

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Jan. 31, 2007 - With the Sulphur Springs Wildcats sitting in fifth place after the first round of district play, the Wildcats came out and took care of business Tuesday night against the first-place Mount Pleasant Tigers.

The Wildcats won, 54-50, behind a game-high 18 points to go along with three rebounds, two steals and two assists from sophomore Tyrick Rollison.

Senior Bradley Washington had a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and one assist for the Wildcats. It was his 18th game in double figures this year.

"Like I said all year long, I knew that our kids were going to come out and compete," said SSHS coach Rusty Harden. "I knew if we were in the ball game down the stretch that we needed some more inside touches, and the kids did a good job tonight."

The victory avenged a 12-point loss in the District 11-4A opener to the Tigers, who outscored SSHS 16-4 in the final 3:50 of that game to win 57-45.

This time, the lead never reached more than nine points the entire game as both teams shot almost identical from the field. SSHS shot 17-of-45 (37.8 percent) compared to 19-of-53 (35.8 percent) for the Tigers from the field, but the Wildcats had the advantage at the charity stripe going 13-of-21 compared to 7-of-9 for the Tigers.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter as Ladarius Harrison made one of two free throws followed by an offensive putback from Washington and a 3-pointer by Tyrick Rollison, before Trentson Hill nailed a 3-pointer of his own to put Mount Pleasant on the board.

Hill led Mount Pleasant with 15 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists before fouling out of the game, while teammate Scooter Van Dyke had 13 points, five rebounds, one steal and two assists.

Sulphur Springs took a 10-5 lead after the first quarter as MPHS shot only 1-of-13 from the field in the quarter. But, the Tigers came out in the second quarter and outscored SSHS, 21-17, to trail 27-26 going into the locker room.

During the quarter, Carliss Robinson tied the game up at 15-15 on an old fashioned 3-point play with 4:28 remaining in the quarter, but Rollison continued his clutch play with a jumper to give the Wildcats the lead once again at 17-15.

Later in the quarter, Rollison gave SSHS a 25-22 lead on his third 3-pointer of the first half and scored 11 of his 18 points during the first half.

"He (Rollison) wasn't real happy after the last game, and he was turning the ball over down the stretch against North Lamar," the coach said. "I told him that was just one game and there was another game, and he came out and played a lot better tonight."

With the Wildcats holding a one-point lead at the half, Harden said he told the team at the half to continue playing strong.

"I told them at halftime that we needed to come out and outwork them. We needed to keep them off of the boards and execute better on offense," he said. "We made some big shots down the stretch that the kids put up and that helped out tremendously."

At the start of the third quarter, Mount Pleasant (14-7, 4-2 in district) jumped out to a six-point lead in a three-minute span on a jumper by Kevin Cheatum, a 3-pointer by Hill and an offensive putback by Cheatum for a 33-27 advantage.

But the Wildcats came back with a 5-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 33-32 on a 3-pointer by Washington and a putback by Aaron Williams.

Mount Pleasant went into the fourth quarter with a 39-36 lead by outscoring SSHS 6-3 the remainder of the quarter.

With just over two minutes remaining in the game, Rollison nailed his final 3-pointer to give SSHS a 50-41 lead before Mount Pleasant battled back to cut the deficit to 52-50 with 13 seconds left on a jumper from Van Dyke. Following a Mount Pleasant timeout, Rollison was fouled on the next play and nailed two free throws to seal the victory.

The Wildcats (18-7, 3-3 in district) travel to Lindale Friday night to face the Eagles (16-10, 0-6), which lost to Paris 62-60 in overtime Tuesday. Lindale is eliminated from playoff contention, while SSHS is a game out of third place with two weeks left in the season.

"Any road game is scary and they are going to be tough down there," Harden said. "Lindale can beat any team in our district and they just haven't had anything go their way and it is going to be tough."

JUNIOR VARSITY

Mount Pleasant 63, SSHS 46

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats fell behind, 30-19, going into the intermission and could not pull out the victory.

Dequalin Evans led the Wildcats with 16 points while Johnathan Lee added 14 points and Keedrick Dial added eight points.

Mount Pleasant 11 19 16 17 -63

SSHS 6 13 14 13 -46

Mount Pleasant -Howard 9, Tar. Elliott 5, Hurndon 2, Tev. Elliott 7, T. Rogers 11, Stewart 13, Shaw 2, Chism 2, Hoskins 9.

SSHS - Johnathan Lee 14, Keedrick Dial 8, Darrell Franklin 3, Dequalin Evans 16, Rashad Hall 2, Kaylon Page 3.

FRESHMAN

Mount Pleasant 57, SSHS 47

With the Wildcats down 39-36 heading into the fourth quarter of play, the Tigers outscored Sulphur Springs, 18-11, to seal the victory.

Jaz Debase led the Wildcats with 14 points while Lemarcus Kendricks scored 10 points and Bryant Jackson added nine points.

Mount Pleasant 13 13 13 18 -57

SSHS 10 8 18 11 -47

Mount Pleasant - Hurndon 3, Miller 2, Flanagan 15, Haley 6, Armstead 12, Williams 11, Quary 8.

SSHS - Luco 6, Jacob Corona 2, Jaz Debase 14, Bryant Jackson 9, Joey Davis 5, Lemarcus Kendricks 10.

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