The Licking Wildcats faced the Mountain Grove Panthers in a home game Tuesday, then hit the road to end their week in Laquey on Friday. Licking added two more wins to their record, bringing it up to 13-4 (4-0 conference), in two close contests, with three- and two-point victories, respectively.
Despite trailing Mountain Grove until the fourth quarter, Licking was able to outscore the Panthers 27-16 in the final minutes to pull out a 59-56 win.
Austin James led scoring with 21 points and 2 assists. Keyton Cook had 13 points and 6 rebounds, and Carter Sullins 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals to join James in double figures. Cole Wallace earned a respectable 9 points with 2 assists; Roston Stockard added 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals; Kannon Buckner had 2 points; Gaige Nicholson 2 points and 4 rebounds; Kenny Ramsey and Garrett Gorman each pulled in 2 rebounds.
The Wildcats outscored the Panthers at the free throw line, hitting 14/20 compared to their 6/10.
“They were the more aggressive and physical team in the first half. We were the more aggressive on offense and defense in the second half. We were down for most of the game, but able to fight back and get the lead late and hold onto it. Everyone contributed something tonight. It’s great to have a total TEAM win. We are winning games in different ways which makes it hard on opposing teams to just work on one thing to shut us down. It was a great game for us and an exciting night for our fans who were loud from the tip of the game.” ~ Coach Mike Phillips
Licking JV led off the evening with a similar win, pulling off a three-point win in the fourth quarter.
Kannon Buckner scored 18 points, Lake Wade 11, Jordan Ritz 10, Benton Corley 4, Kale Cook 2, and Brently Morris 2 points.
“Tonight was the first night in a while that the shots weren’t falling for our guys. It was nice to see our guys work to get the ball inside off of the dribble or the post pass. The JV guys have a nice combination of guards and posts that everyone can bring something to the floor each game.” ~ Coach Mike Phillips
Friday’s road game against the Iberia Rangers was equally close, but in contrast, the Wildcats led through the first three quarters. The Rangers closed to within two in the final quarter, with Licking squeaking out the conference win, 70-68.
Keyton Cook led scoring for both teams, connecting for 33 points and 7 rebounds. Roston Stockard scored 10 points with 3 assists; Carter Sullins had 9 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists and 4 steals; Cole Wallace 9 points and 10 rebounds; Austin James 3 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals; Lake Wade 3 points, Gaige Nicholson 3 points and 5 rebounds, and Garrett Gorman 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
“We always know that winning a conference game on the road is a tall task, but we knew we should be able to attack them and still play the way we wanted to play. It came in spurts but we were able to pass through their zone and then find the open shooter. When we took care of the ball we were able to show how great our teamwork and shooting can be. We have a great group of guys who play hard for each other.” ~ Coach Mike Phillips
The JV ’Cats walloped the Rangers with a decisive 74-13 win.
“Twelve guys played and eleven scored. We were the dominant team from the beginning. Our defense turned into offense and created points for guys who don’t always get a chance to score. It was a great team effort that helped our JV stay undefeated in the conference and 9-1 overall.” ~ Coach Mike Phillips