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Basketball – Wildcats strong after first round loss

By Coach Jess Ross

After a disappointing loss to Plato in the opening round of the Frisco League tournament (47-53), the Wildcats bounced back to win three games in three days to secure the consolation bracket on Saturday.

Now sitting 4-1 overall, the team is still figuring out their identity and learning to overcome some adversity in the early part of the season. We need to learn how to bring the high energy and passion to every game we play. That being said, the team rebounded from the early loss and followed it up by beating Stoutland, Laquey and Newburg to finish the tournament. Four games in five days was not an easy task, but we handled it well and did a lot of learning, about ourselves and each other, along the way.

Leading the way in scoring for the Plato game was Wilson Murray with 18, Malachi Antle with 10, Nicky Hood 6, Bryce Corley 6, Keyton Cook 5, and Cole Wallace with 2.

On Friday the team came together for their best offense and defensive performance of the year. We came out with energy and passion and dominated from start to finish. Because of the team play on both offense and defense, it was the most impressed I have been with the team in a long time. Leading the team in scoring was Antle with 16, Hood with 14 and Cook with 10. Adding to the scoring was Corley with 8, Murray with 5, JB Huff 3, Wallace 2, and Conner McLeod 2

On Saturday the men played in the finals of the consolation bracket against Newburg, their fourth game in five days. To some degree, we were in survival mode and the loss of Landon Medlock to quarantine did not help our depth for the game.

After being down by 5 at half and 7 after three quarters, the Wildcats outscored Newburg 15 to 8 in the fourth quarter to take the game into overtime with a big three-point shot by Cook and strong post play by Murray. In overtime, two three-point plays by seniors Murray and Corley and a free throw by Huff allowed the Wildcats to win by one point.

The entire second half was a defensive struggle for both teams. We were having trouble with rotations in our press and getting out of position defensively. In overtime we were able to make a few adjustments defensively and prevail. Murray led the team in scoring with 38, Corley added 11, Cook 8, Antle 4, Hood 3, Wallace 2, and Huff 1.

The Wildcats were scheduled to play their first home game versus Stoutland on Tuesday, Dec. 8, and then on Thursday will travel to Steelville.

Our athlete of the week this week is Wilson Murray. He led the team in scoring rebounding, assists, blocks and steals during the tournament and has demonstrated leadership with his team. Although an important part of the offense when it comes to scoring, he is willing to defer to his teammates when necessary in order for the team to be successful.

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