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Licking Eighth Grade Boys win Bland Tourney


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Eighth grade boy’s basketball wins first at the Bland Tournament on Nov. 9.

By Cole Roark

  The Licking Junior High Boy’s basketball team opened up their season with a strong start. The eighth grade traveled to the Bland Eighth Grade Tournament where they were the number three seed.
  Their first round matchup was against the Cuba Wildcats. The first quarter was hard fought, but by halftime Licking had grabbed a 20-10 lead. They added on throughout the second half, with key scoring by Austin Stephens who led the way with 17 points and Keyton Cook who added 10 points. Licking had the advantage in the rebound column and the majority of those rebounds came from Silas Antle, who grabbed a total of 14 rebounds. Licking defeated Cuba, 43-21.
  The semifinal match was against the Vienna Eagles. Vienna made Licking work for it on the offensive end, but the Wildcats kept clawing their way in. Keyton Cook had a big night, scoring 19 points and going six of seven from the free-throw line. There were key defensive moments from Cael Wantland and Logan Gorman, who were lockdown defenders all night. Gaige Nicholson also added four points and five rebounds to help the Wildcats seal the victory, 37-22.

  The championship matchup was set, this time Licking playing against the number one seed Steelville Cardinals. The pace was hurried in the early moments of the game, and before the Wildcats could really get going, the Cardinals grabbed an early lead, up six at the half. The second half was much different for the Wildcats. They came out and refused to give anything up to the Cardinal offense, and allowed only two points in the third quarter. They were not satisfied with that, and in the fourth quarter did not give up a single field goal. The Wildcats and their defense claimed their third victory of the season and the Bland Tournament championship, with a score of 40-26.

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