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First round win for Wildcats

By Shari Harris, Publisher

Licking started the Cabool Holiday Tournament with a first round win over Eminence Monday, in a close, 75-70 win.

Licking carried a 38-29 lead into halftime, but Eminence came roaring back in the third quarter, with Licking hanging onto a slim 57-56 lead going into the fourth quarter. Despite Cabool taking the lead in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats came back to pull out a close win over the Redwings.

Licking was 23/43 from two-point range and 6/28 from three-point range, and had 20 steals compared to Eminence’s 10.

JB Huff (15 points and two rebounds), and Keyton Cook (14 points, three rebounds, two assists and four steals) were the only Wildcats scoring in double figures. Four players scored nine points – Austin Stephens (three rebounds), Carter Sullins (four rebounds), Austin James (three rebounds and two assists), and Chris Bartling (four rebounds, two assists and three steals). Cole Wallace had eight points, two rebounds, seven assists and five steals; and Connor McLeod had two points with five rebounds.

“We started off well tonight, getting deflections and finding open teammates on offense. We had a few lulls on offense tonight. When we didn’t hit jump shots, we couldn’t make up for it by getting offensive rebounds. We ended up losing our lead in the fourth quarter but didn’t stop shooting and was able to hit a big three-pointer late and sealed it with a couple of free throws. I like how we were able to fight back and win a close game tonight. I think that mentality will help us win games later this year.” – Coach Mike Phillips

Licking was scheduled to face Norwood in round two of the tournament Tuesday at 6 p.m.

On Friday, Dec. 17, the Wildcats hit the road to conference rival Laquey, and came away with a 75-58 win.

Licking jumped to an early 24-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and the Hornets were never able to appreciably close the gap.

Cook led the Wildcats in scoring, with 25 points, three rebounds and four assists. Huff scored 11 points with four rebounds and two steals. James added eight points, two assists and five steals; Wallace also had eight points, with six assists and five steals. Sullins contributed six points and two assists; Nicky Hood five points, three rebounds and three steals; Stephens four points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals; McLeod four points; Roston Stockard three points and Cade Richards one points and two rebounds.

Licking outpaced Laquey with steals, 19-10, with Laquey seeing 29 turnovers to Licking’s 15. The Wildcats hit 20/37 two-point shots and 9/28 three-pointers, and went 8/16 with free throws.

“We started off the game like we wanted to by forcing 10 turnovers in the first quarter. We had 47 points at halftime and only pressed in the first. Since our press was working so well, we decided to try some new stuff and give our guys a chance to work on different situations in a real game atmosphere. Being able to play different ways will be a big asset for us later in the year as we start playing some bigger schools. I appreciated our guys competing even after I stopped us from running and playing like we had been. We had a good team night, and our guys were disciplined enough to listen to our coaching staff and do what was asked of them. Once again, I can’t stress enough that we have a great group of guys.” – Coach Mike Phillips

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