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Wildcats face a week of Tigers, take Consolation in St. James Tournament

Submitted by Ben Glasgow
            The Wildcats entered the St. James tournament as the #4 seed to square off against their first round opponent, the Waynesville Tigers. Licking fell behind early to the Tigers, who pounded the offensive glass to jump up to a quick 7-point lead. The Wildcats trailed 10-17 when they began the second period and were unable to close the gap at all. Licking fell behind two more points and found themselves behind 21-30 when the half ended. Licking was able to put up a few more points in the third, but were unable to slow down Waynesville’s inside presence. The gap was ten points as they entered the last quarter, with the score 36-46. The Wildcats were able to make a run on the Tigers and cut the lead to four points, but were not able to get closer than that. Licking fell 54-64 to Waynesville for their second loss of the season.
  G.T. Nicholson led the Wildcats with 22 points, followed by Wilson Murray with 9, Michael Milhizer 7, Evan Mitchell 6, Kaden Quick 3, Garrett Duncan 3, Connor Medlock 2 and James Swan 2. Carter Rinne also saw action. The loss put Licking’s overall record at 13-2.
  Licking moved into the second round of the St. James tournament to face St. James JV. The host of the tournament was unable to find the eighth team to fill out the bracket, so St. James entered their JV team in order to make it an even eight-team bracket. Licking was slow to get going in the first couple of minutes in the game, but then began to use their size and strength advantage to finish around the basket and built a 17-11 lead by the end of the first. The Wildcats kept extending their lead in the third by holding their opponents to only 5 points and scoring 18 of their own to hold a 35-15 lead as they entered halftime. G.T. Nicholson and James Swan combined for 15 of Licking’s 19 points in the third period to move the lead to 56-20 as the fourth quarter began with a turbo clock running. Thirteen different players played for Licking and the game ended with a 67-32 score in favor of the Wildcats. G.T. Nicholson led Licking with 17 points, followed by James Swan with 14, Michael Milhizer 12, Garrett Duncan 7, Evan Mitchell 4, Wilson Murray 4, Blake Payne 4, Connor Medlock 3 and Carter Rinne 2.  Kaden Quick, Kaleb Keaton, Landon Medlock and Levi Cantrell also played. 
  The Wildcats faced St. James in the consolation game.  Licking started off hot this game, and after building a lead, Kaden Quick finished the first period with a buzzer-beater from the corner to give the Wildcats a 23-14 lead. Both teams were on fire in the second period. Licking and St. James both scored 20 points to move into the half with Licking leading 43-34. The third quarter was close once again and the Tigers were able to shave two points off of the lead as they entered the fourth, with Licking holding on to a 57-50 lead. The Wildcats were able to extend the lead and build it all the way up to 13 points at one point, but would need every bit of that lead to hold on. St. James came storming back in the final three minutes to get as close as one point. The Tigers fouled in the final 20 seconds to put Licking on the foul line. The Wildcats converted on one of two free throws, and St. James was able to get off a desperation shot at the buzzer which bounced off the rim into the hands of Wilson Murray as the buzzer sounded. Licking finished the game with a 71-69 victory which put their record at 15-2 on the season. All five starters scored in double figures for Licking. Michael Milhizer led the Wildcats with 20 points followed by G.T. Nicholson with 13, James Swan 13, Wilson Murray 12, Kaden Quick 10 and Garrett Duncan 3. Carter Rinne, Connor Medlock and Evan Mitchell also played in the contest. 


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