Wildcats open district schedule against Mount Pleasant

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Jan. 11, 2007 - After a 14-9 non-district schedule for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, first-year coach Braughn Curtis sees his team back at 0-0 as the games start to count in hopes of making the Class 4A state playoffs.

The Wildcats open the District 11-4A schedule tonight hosting the Mount Pleasant Tigers at Wildcat Gym. The games will start with the freshmen at 4:30 p.m., the JV at about 6 p.m., and varsity at about 7:30 p.m.

"With Mount Pleasant, they are very quick and they can handle the ball very well," the coach said. "They can shoot the ball well and they are a lot like us. They will press off and on and they will play a man-to-man and trap out of their defensive set."

In other District 11-4A games, Lindale (13-8) entertains Paris (15-6) while North Lamar (12-7) travels to Texas High (8-8).

With only one win in their previous six games, the Wildcats are limping into the district campaign, and Curtis said the team needs to get back to the basics in their final 10 games of the season.

"In my opinion, I wanted us to come out of the preseason ready to attack district," he said. "I feel like right now we are back on our heels and that is my interpretation of the way we are.

"On the same token, I think we have learned some important lessons from the losses and we need to learn from it and move on. We need to take care of the ball, get it inside and play good basketball and dictate the play of the game."

Junior post Colton Nash has emerged as the Wildcats' top scorer, averaging 11.5 points per game. He is also averaging 6.6 rebounds per game. Junior post Jonathan Lee is second on the team in scoring with 8.4 points per game and third in rebounding at 3.7 rebounds.

Classmate Tyrik Rollison is third in scoring at 7.7 points per game and has a team-high 17 3-pointers. He also is the Wildcats' leader in assists and steals.

Curtis said he predicts six wins will get them into the playoffs and hopefully a quick start against Mount Pleasant will start them in the right direction.

"We've got to dig in and play hard and be able to get on the submarine and don't let anything knock us off," he said. "We need to stay focused on the job and everybody has to work together.

"I hope six wins is enough in this district. I would love to win it all and go undefeated and that is something everybody wants to do. Realistically, you think about it and we might lose one or two games just because of the way we are playing right now. I think we can get six games but you never know until you play them."

Below are the thoughts of Curtis on the remaining district teams this season:

Lindale Eagles - "They have a really good post player who is left-handed and he can put it in the hole. He is complimented by another post player that is a good player and they have some good guards that can press well."

Texas High - "Texas High has athletes and they have two good groups that can come in and out and hustle very well. They have some big post players and guards that can really attack. They do good with their set plays and all of these teams are good at running their man stuff and getting the ball in the hole."

Paris Wildcats - "Paris has Courtney Jackson and he is a good player for them. Paris is very athletic and they take the ball to the hole but they don't shoot the ball very well."

North Lamar - "North Lamar has (Qualon) Fort and (Justin) Collard and they compliment each other very well and they are well-coached. They both score around 15-to-20 points a game and they are really good, and they beat us in a championship game this year."

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