Return to Form: Wildcats return to winning versus Wills Point

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Jan. 4, 2008 - SSHS first-year coach Braughn Curtis saw a different team than he did at the Century Bank/Fouke Classic last weekend as the Sulphur Springs Wildcats defeated the Wills Point Tigers, 55-38, at Wildcat Gym Thursday night.

This was the second meeting between the two schools as SSHS defeated the Tigers, 55-39, at the Wills Point Tournament in December.

"I thought our guys played well," Curtis said. "We came out and had goals that we needed to press well and have good offensive possessions, and I think we did that for the most part."

SSHS (14-7) bounced back from a three-game losing streak with a strong inside game from 6-6 junior post Colton Nash, who scored a game-high 16 points to go along with four rebounds, one steal and two blocks. Teammate Bryant "Day Day" Jackson had 14 points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist.

"He (Nash) is definitely a factor for us at 6-6 and a big body," the coach said. "We are still trying to coach him up on the little things right now. Day Day is really coming along right now. He is one of our better shooters on the team, and he is a hard worker."

The Wildcats will return to Wildcat Gym tomorrow afternoon for a 3 p.m. tipoff against the Pleasant Grove Hawks. The freshmen are scheduled to tipoff at noon with the junior varsity to follow.

In the first quarter, Nash and Jackson scored all 12 of the Wildcats' points as the team jumped out to a 12-6 lead. Nash scored the first nine points as he went 3-for-3 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. Nash gave the Wildcats a 9-4 lead with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter, and then Jackson drained a jumper off an assist from Anthony Mills for the double-digit lead.

Wills Point (12-9) battled its way back and tied the game at 12-12 as Kevin Scott drained back-to-back 3-pointers before Jackson came back with eight unanswered points on two 3-pointers and an offensive putback for a 20-12 lead.

SSHS then went on an 8-0 run after a bucket by Wills Point post Junior Hamilton as Nash and Jackson continued to find ways to score against the Tigers for the 28-14 lead. The Wildcats took a 31-16 lead into the locker room on a 3-pointer by Tyrik Rollison.

Curtis said the Wildcats wanted to slow down the pace of the game and work on different situations in preparation for their district opener next Friday night against Mount Pleasant.

"We definitely want to run down the floor and get transition buckets, but we have got to be smart and wise when we take those opportunities," the coach said. "There were times during this game when we were running up and down the floor and we didn't get transition buckets. We have got to have good possessions and make every possession count."

In the third period, the Tigers cut the deficit to single digits at 33-24 on a fast-break layup and free throw from Mark Barefield, who was the team's leading scorer with 11 points to go along with five rebounds, one steal and one assist off of the bench.

Sulphur Springs finished the game shooting 22-of-51 from the field (43.1 percent) compared to 15-of-38 (39.5 percent) for Wills Point. Each team shot seven 3-pointers with SSHS making three, while Wills Point made two of theirs. The Wildcats held a 34-22 advantage in rebounding, a 16-8 advantage in assists and a 10-6 advantage in steals.

In the junior varsity game, the Wildcats lost 37-30 to Wills Point as Jesse Vasquez was the team's leading scorer with 13 points. In the freshmen game, the Wildcats held a 23-21 lead at the half and pulled out a 41-34 victory as Kaylon Alexander had a team-high 11 points and Alvin Frazier added 10 points.

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