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JV Wildcats win first in Mountain Grove Tourney

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First place winners in the Mountain Grove Junior Varsity Tournament, from left, kneeling: Kohen Blankenship, Karson Walker, Nate Gambill, Josh Wade and Kolton Sullins; standing: Will Hackman, Robbie James, Lake Wade, Conway Adey, Brently Morris and Benton Corley.

MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. – Congratulations to the JV Licking Wildcats for defeating Marshfield 45-33 to win the championship of the Mountain Grove Junior Varsity Tournament.

In the first round of the tournament on Tuesday, January 23, the JV defeated Norwood 63-43.

The team started a little slow but really took off in the second quarter and never looked back. Defense in the second half was the main reason for a victory, with the JV ’Cats holding Norwood to only 12 points.

Nate Gambill led scoring with 14; Benton Corley, Brently Morris and Lake Wade each added 11 points.

In the semifinal round Thursday, the JV defeated Hartville 51-47 in a hard fought physical game.

Down early, Licking used a 20 point second quarter to take the halftime lead. The second half was back and forth, and in the end, four big free throws from Corley and Gambill sealed the win.

Karsen Walker led the team with 25 points.

On Saturday, the JV finished the week off with the championship victory against Marshfield, 45-33.

The pace was a little slower than expected, but the Wildcat defense was strong, holding Marshfield to only four first quarter points and five points in the third quarter.

“One of our goals for each game is to hold the opposing team to under 40 points a game and that’s exactly what we did,” said Coach Chris Harris.

Gambill had 13 points, Walker 11, Morris 9, and Wade 8 points.

“I’m extremely proud of these young men. They have worked so hard. We came up short last year in this tournament and they were focused on not letting that happen again. We jump right into our JV tournament this week so we have a lot of basketball to play.” ~ Coach Harris

Running concurrently with the JV tournament was the Mountain Grove Varsity Tournament. The Varsity Wildcats opened the tournament with a tough loss to Norwood in the opening round, 60-52. The game was close throughout, and the Wildcats made a run late in the fourth quarter but fell short.

Roston Stockard led all scorers with 22, while Austin James and Keyton Cook added 11 each.

“I was proud of our fight to the final buzzer. Our guys gave themselves a shot at the end of the game and didn’t leave anything on the floor.” ~ Coach Phillip Gambill

In the second game on Thursday, the Wildcats found themselves in a back-and-forth game against Willow Springs. The Wildcats had two possessions with under 20 seconds left to tie the game, but fell short by a score of 60-57.

Cook scored 19 to lead all scorers while Stockard scored 16, and James tossed in 12.

“We were in a good spot with the ball, down three with less than 20 seconds left. Our guys executed, we just missed the shot to tie on two occasions. At the end, I was very proud of our guys for their effort and execution. We put ourselves in the position at the end, just fell short.” ~ Coach Gambill

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