The annual Big Cat Classic between the Licking Wildcats and the Salem Tigers returned to Licking Tuesday evening, November 21. A 4 p.m. start time for the JV Girls team may have been too early for some to attend, but a sizable crowd was there early and only grew over time, until the gym was packed.
Sponsored by Town & Country Bank, Senior Vice President Doug Barnes wears the blue t-shirt given to all players on the Salem basketball teams, while Licking Branch Manager, Vice President Rawly Gorman wears the orange t-shirt given to all Wildcat players. Additional t-shirts were thrown to the fans throughout the night.
Licking kept both the girls and boys trophy again this year, but Salem didn’t go home winless, defeating the junior varsity boys in the second game of the evening and playing very competitively in the varsity boys’ game, with Licking finally getting the win in overtime.
Wildcats open season with OT win
By Coach Phillip Gambill
The Licking Wildcats opened their season at home in the Big Cat Classic on Tuesday, November 21 at the Sherman Hill Fieldhouse. In front of a large crowd, the Wildcats jumped out to an 11-0 lead before Salem cut the lead to 15-7 at the end of the first quarter. Salem made a run in the second quarter, but the Wildcats still held on to a 22-21 lead at the half.
The second half began with the Wildcats jumping out to a 5-point lead. The Tigers closed the gap, and the score went back and forth for the rest of the game. At the end of regulation, the Wildcats stopped Salem on defense to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, the Wildcats began to heat up on the offensive side of the ball, outscoring the Tigers 14-6 in the period for a 58-50 victory.
The Wildcats outrebounded the Tigers 31-26 and shot 17 of 24 from the free throw line. Austin James and Roston Stockard both scored 16 points for the Wildcats, Keyton Cook finished with 14 points. Carter Sullins chipped in 8, and the Wildcats are beginning the season 1-0.
“I was proud of our guys for grinding out the victory Tuesday night. We had a playoff type atmosphere, and our guys found a way to come out with the victory. I thought we played well defensively and controlled the boards.” ~ Coach Phillip Gambill
The JV boys were down 11-12 after the first, and 28-33 at the half. They closed the gap to 40-41 at the end of three, but ran out of time and fell to Salem by three points, 58-61.
The Wildcats were scheduled to play Laquey in the opening round of the Frisco League Tournament on Tuesday, November 28, at 5:00 p.m., at Laquey High School.
Photos by Shari Harris
Decisive win for Lady ’Cats’ opener
By Coach Steve Rissler
The Licking Lady Wildcats opened the 2023 season with a blowout win over the Salem Lady Tigers.
The first quarter was full of missed layups and 3-point shots for LHS but the girls managed to hold a respectable 13 to 4 lead. The second quarter saw Licking put a run together to take a commanding 36 to 11 lead into the break.
The Lady ’Cats scored early and often in transition in the third to bolster the lead to 36 points. The turbo clock was in effect the entire fourth quarter as the home Wildcats won 73 to 26.
Junior Zoey Dawson finished with 6 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 10 steals and 0 turnovers. Allie Hock had 24 points on 11/14 shooting and 7 rebounds. Hannah Medlock dropped 22 points 6 rebounds and 7 steals. Kinley Keaton added 3 points and 5 assists. Linzie Wallace scored 4 and added 4 assists and 3 boards. Finley Sullins had 4 points and 3 boards. Rounding out the stats, Morgan Stone had 4 points, Addison Floyd 2 points, Ryleigh Barton 2 points, Kylee Rinne 2 steals, Mylie Peterson 2 points and 2 rebounds, and Keely Gorman 2 assists.
“We managed to force 37 turnovers tonight and get easy run outs. We may struggle to score at times in the half court, so transition buckets will be very important to our success.” ~ Coach Rissler
The JV Lady Wildcats had an equally decisive win, with a final score of 47-20 over Salem.
Photos by Shari Harris