Cats looking for answers after third 11-4A loss

Paris maintains district lead after dominating performance

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

Jan. 19, 2008 - After the first 17 games of the basketball season, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats were sitting at 13-4 on the year. In their past nine games, SSHS has gone 1-8 following a 92-45 loss to the Paris Wildcats at Wildcat Gym Friday night.

"I don't know if we were tired. The guys definitely had rest and they were ready to play tonight," said SSHS first-year coach Braughn Curtis. "We were just making bad shot selections tonight, and our leaders are not making good decisions with the ball. We are not finishing inside, and we should be going to the line finishing a 3-point play because we just made the layup and got fouled. Instead, we don't finish layups, and we dribble the ball uncontrollably and turn the ball over."

SSHS had 27 turnovers in the game and were outrebounded, 44-27, against Paris. Paris shot 33-of-61 from the field for 54.1 percent, compared to 16-of-51 (31.4 percent) for SSHS. Paris also went 22-of-35 for 63 percent from the free-throw line, compared to 11-of-18 (61 percent) for Sulphur Springs.

"I have no idea on the turnovers. It is a mystery to me, and I think it is confidence and being able to understand that I am good enough to take care of the ball against this team," Curtis said. "Regardless of our record and where the guy is going to school, I need to take care of the ball because I believe that I can."

The Wildcats (14-12 overall) are currently in a two-way tie for fifth place at 0-3 in District 11-4A with seven games remaining and host a Texas High team that is 9-11 overall and 0-3 in district Tuesday night. The freshmen start the three-game set at 4:30 p.m., followed by the junior varsity at 6 p.m., and the varsity at around 7:30 p.m.

"Somehow we have got to find some confidence in what we are doing," the coach said. "Winning a basketball game will give us a shot of adrenaline because it will be something that we work hard for.

"If you can win a game, things will be better, but if you keep losing there will constantly be things that you have to work on. I try to be positive with them the best that I can and get them to understand that we are also learning lessons about life. This might be the best lesson for us right now."

Paris was led by senior forward Courtney Jackson, who had a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds to go along with four steals and one block, as he scored eight of his team's first 19 points on three dunks in the first quarter. PHS (18-6, 3-0) took a 19-6 lead into the second quarter and a 42-15 lead at the half.

In the second quarter, SSHS was able to get to within 10 points at 23-13 on a old-fashioned 3-point play by Colton Nash on the assist from Anthony Mills, but that would be as close as they would get the remainder of the game.

Paris relied on the duo of Jackson and Keon Furtch in the second quarter as they combined for 17 of the team's 23 points. Furtch gave them a 34-13 lead on a steal and 3-pointer with 3:10 remaining in the half. He scored 16 points to go along with four rebounds, five steals and one block.

"Our game right now is our guys are getting flustered the first sign of adversity and they put their head down and don't do the things that they are coached to do," Curtis said. "They try to create too much and they need to work their play and do what they are coached to do."

In the junior varsity game, Paris defeated SSHS 49-38 as Jesse Vasquez scored a team-high 14 points for the Wildcats. In freshmen action, SSHS lost 48-38 behind 11 points from Kaylon Alexander.

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