Against the Wall: Wildcats lose to Lindale, 45-41 to fall to 0-2 in district play
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Jan. 16, 2008 - LINDALE - After the first two games of the District 11-4A basketball season, Sulphur Springs head coach Braughn Curtis is worried about the team's confidence on the basketball court.
Sulphur Springs dropped its fourth straight game and its ninth in the past 12 games with a 45-41 loss to the Lindale Eagles Tuesday night.
"Our confidence is low right now on the team," Curtis said. "At 0-2, it has got to happen for us to go 6-2 the remainder of the way to get in the playoffs. You will not get in the playoffs with less than six wins because that is how close this district is. Paris, Mount Pleasant and North Lamar won't lose more than one or two games, and they won't lose two games to anybody."
The Wildcats (14-11, 0-2 in district) host Paris on Friday night with the freshmen to start a three-game set at 4:30 p.m. The junior varsity will follow around 6 p.m., with the varsity scheduled to tipoff around 7:30 p.m.
"We have got to play with confidence and play hard against Paris on Friday night," the coach said. "We are playing on our heels right now and it is hard to get confidence when you don't win and that is what we need right now."
In the first six minutes of the game, the Eagles jumped out to a 15-0 lead behind seven Sulphur Springs turnovers and a tough pressure defense as SSHS had only seven shots in the first quarter.
Lindale's Cedric Jones scored 10 of his game-high 20 points to go along with four steals, three rebounds and one assist in the first quarter as he scored eight points during the 15-0 run.
Following a Wildcat timeout, Bryant "Day Day" Jackson found a spark and scored five unanswered points to cut the deficit to 15-5 with 35 seconds remaining in the quarter. Jackson scored all seven of the Wildcats' points in the first quarter and finished with nine points, two rebounds and one steal.
With a 19-7 lead heading into the second quarter, Lindale's Luke Wyatt nailed a jumper one minute into the second quarter. During a four-minute stretch, SSHS went on a 7-0 run behind buckets from Anthony Mills and Kedrick Dial and free throws from Andrew Panter and Jonathan Lee for a 21-14 deficit with 2:13 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats had 11 of their 17 turnovers in the first half and Curtis said the high number of turnovers needs to stop in their final eight games.
"My thoughts are we turned the ball over a lot tonight," Curtis said. "We work on being aggressive and making good decisions, and at the end of the day we are not confident with our decisions and our abilities. We have got to come ready to play and we are not playing confident basketball right now, and we are making too many turnovers."
The defensive pressure of the Wildcats started to work in the third quarter as Lindale committed seven turnovers and was outscored 18-6 In the quarter.
SSHS held its first lead of the game at 34-31 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Tyrik Rollison, who finished with a team-high 10 points, four steals, three assists and two rebounds.
"We played hard in the third quarter, no doubt about it. The third quarter was a big quarter for us," the coach said. "Like I told them, 'You can't play one good quarter and three bad ones and expect to compete and win games.' You have to play four solid quarters and be focused and ready to go when you step on the floor."
After a jumper by Rollison gave the Wildcats a 38-35 lead with 5:42 remaining in the game, SSHS was held scoreless for over four minutes before DeQualin "Boo" Evans nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc for the four-point loss.
The Wildcats shot 15-of-40 (37.5 percent) from the field, compared to 20-of-34 (58.8 percent) for Lindale, and both teams were identical in rebounding (25-25). The Wildcats shot 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from the free throw line, compared to 4-of-13 (30.8 percent) for Lindale.
In the junior varsity game, the Wildcats lost 47-36 and held a 16-11 lead at the half. Jesse Vasquez was the team's leading scorer with 11 points.
In the freshmen game, Kaylon Alexander and Hayden Jacobs combined for 28 of the team's 34 points during a 34-15 win. Alexander scored 16 points while Jacobs scored 12 points for the Wildcats to pick up their first district win.