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Wildcats end season first in conference

The last regular season game for the Wildcats was a conference game against Plato on the road, on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Licking finished first in the conference with their win over Plato, 71-60. JV was equally successful, remaining undefeated in the conference (8-0) with their 72-55 win, which ended their season with a 20-2 overall record.

Carter Sullins led scoring for the varsity Wildcats with 15 points, 2 assists and 4 steals; Roston Stockard had 13 points and 8 steals; Austin James 12 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists; Keyton Cook 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals; Cole Wallace 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals; Gaige Nicholson 5 points and 3 rebounds; and Kannon Buckner 4 points, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Junior Keyton Cook scored his 1,000th career point during the game.

“We did a good job of dictating tempo after the first few minutes of the game. We were trying to get Keyton Cook the ball in the lane early to try to help him get his 1000th career point. He achieved that outstanding feat during the third quarter of the game while getting an and-1 while driving to the basket. We knew they would play slow and try to get the ball inside as much as possible. We did a good job defensively of taking away what was easy for them. I like watching the guys take the game plan and execute it on the floor. It really bothers the other team when we are more prepared than they are. Great job by both teams at Plato which ended up being the deciding game for the regular season Conference Championship. JV won it for the second year in a row. Varsity was able to win the Conference Tournament also.” ~ Coach Mike Phillips

For the JV ’Cats, Lake Wade led scoring with 16 points, Karsen Walker added 12, and Benton Corley had 8 points.

“These young men have worked really hard this year, and I am very proud of them,” said Coach Christopher Harris.

The Wildcats’ postseason play ended early with a 51-71 loss to Mtn. View/Liberty in the first round of districts.

Cook led scoring with 15 points and 7 rebounds; James had 9 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists; Sullins 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals; Stockard 6 points and 3 rebounds; Wallace 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists; Nicholson 4 points; Buckner 3 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals; and Lake Wade 2 points.

“It’s always tough to end the season with a loss, but to have a shooting game that wasn’t one of our best is hard to take. We did a better job of guarding their two good guards, but they got points from everyone who played for them. I appreciate the effort the guys gave and I hope the community does too.

“We finished the year as Conference Tournament Champions and regular season Conference Champs. We are in the MSHSAA record book for a number of different things individually and as a team. Austin James is 13th all time in 3pt% for a game. Austin is also in the record books for 3pt% for a season, with 50.8%. Our team finished tied for first by going 20/20 from the free throw line vs St. James on February 11. We are in 20th position for 3pt field goals made in a season. We are in the top 20 for 3pt field goals made per game and 3pt% for the season.

“Sorry to see this season end, but proud of what we accomplished and I can’t wait to see what this group can do next year.” ~ Coach Mike Phillips

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