Short-handed Cats win opener: SSHS defeats Mount Vernon

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Nov. 14, 2007 - Playing with only seven players on the varsity roster, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats opened their season with a 53-43 win over the Mount Vernon Tigers Tuesday night.

This was the first varsity win for head coach Braughn Curtis, who took over for Rusty Harden, who is now the assistant high school principal.

"I thought our kids played very, very hard," Curtis said. "The things that we obviously have to work on are making lay-ups and foul trouble. We had three guys that had three fouls and one guy with four fouls tonight. The turnovers were also a big deal, but we played hard and pressed well and we won the game."

The Wildcats shot 24-of-44 (44.4 percent) for the game and had three players score in double figures. Sophomore Kedrick Dial was the game's leading scorer with 17 points to go along with four rebounds and one block, Johnathan Lee had a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, three assists and one block, while Jessie Vasquez finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

"Kedrick Dial is a sophomore and he is a player. I like his work ethic and his attitude," the coach said. "Jessie is working hard right now and he is trying to earn himself a spot. Johnathan came off an injury in the scrimmage that we had here and he got cleared two days ago and those guys are giving me a great effort right now."

Mount Vernon was led by Frank Hall with 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting, while teammate Dustin Rouse had 10 points, two rebounds and two steals off of the bench.

SSHS jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the game on a jumper by Lee and a free throw and offensive putback from Lee. The Tigers battled back and took their first lead of the game at 9-8 on a jumper from Johnathan Jeffery off an assist from Kellan Carrell 2:08 remaining in the first period.

With the Wildcats down 14-13 entering the second period, neither team held more than a five-point lead as the Tigers were up 26-21 on two free throws by Hall with 3:01 remaining.

The Wildcats closed out the quarter with a 6-0 run as Lee and Andrew Panter had offensive putbacks and Joseph McCann nailed a midrange jumper off an assist from Lee for the 27-26 lead at the half. Panter had seven points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, while McCann had four points, three boards and one assist.

In the second half, the Wildcats picked up their defensive pressure and held a seven-point lead at 43-36 heading into the final quarter after making the necessary adjustments during halftime.

"They ran a 1-3-1 zone and what is vulnerable is the two blocks because their one guy has to defend two guys," Curtis said. "I told the guys, 'We have to get the ball inside and you guys on the top attack the elbow and look down low.' That is exactly what I told them to do in the second half."

Mount Vernon was never able to get the deficit below nine points in the final period as the Sulphur Springs defense held the Tigers to 3-of-8 shooting in the quarter.

Sulphur Springs will return to Wildcat Gym at 2 p.m. Saturday against Bonham. The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but was changed due to the SSHS football team playing its game Friday night in Mesquite.

"What I expect from Bonham is when we went down there and scrimmaged them they got after us and played harder than we did," Curtis said. "We went away from Bonham with a bad taste in our mouths and we are looking forward to them coming down here.

"We want to make sure that we play hard and play our game instead of getting flustered and making mistakes with the ball."

Junior Varsity

Mount Vernon 52, SSHS 45

The SSHS junior varsity had a 24-22 lead heading into the intermission, but were outscored 30-21 in the second half.

Patric Miller led the Wildcats with 12 points, while teammates Charles Carns had eight points and JaQuivian Willis had seven points.

Mount Vernon 13 9 12 18 - 52

SSHS 14 10 14 7 - 45

Mount Vernon - Collins 25, Brooks 1, Dickson 4, Boan 8, Doss 5, Rogers 3, Coffey 6.

SSHS - Alex Lucco 6, Gage Williams 6, Patric Miller 12, JaQuivian Willis 7, Charles Carns 8, John McCann 4, Jordan Lewis 2.

Freshman

Mount Vernon 40, SSHS 33

The SSHS ninth-graders held a 24-13 lead at the half but could not hold on in their season opener.

Sharrard Timmons led the Wildcats with 11 points, while Alvin Frazier had eight points and Kaylon Alexander had seven points.

Mount Vernon 4 9 15 12 - 40

SSHS 15 9 3 6 - 33

Mount Vernon - Fox 4, Price 4, Keener 5, Johnson 9, Bogue 18.

SSHS - Kaylon Alexander 7, Lane Anderson 3, Alvin Frazier 8, Jackson Massey 3, Tripp Reeves 1, Sharrard Timmons 11.

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