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Wildcats fight off tough Rockwall team

by Tyler Lennon

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats hosted the Rockwall Yellowjackets Tuesday, for just their second home game of the season. With a record of 5-0 entering the night, the Wildcats were looking to keep their undefeated season in tact.

Branson Lynn got the scoring started for the Wildcats, knocking down a 3-pointer to put his team ahead 3-2. Later in the frame he scored while drawing a foul. Lynn also hit the free throw, giving his team a 8-5 lead with 3:19 left in the first quarter.

Malachi Myles came up big for Sulphur Springs in the final minutes of the frame, scoring and assisting on their final two buckets. With time running out in the quarter, Myles found Parker Whisenhunt who was able to make a layup as time expired, putting the Wildcats ahead 12-9 entering the second quarter.

Sulphur Springs struggled early in the second half, scoring just three points in the first four minutes. Junior Kordrick Turner paced the offense in the back half of the frame, scoring six consecutive points to end the half. 

The Wildcats junior grabbed an offensive rebound and scored in the closing minutes, before knocking down four consecutive free throws to put his team ahead 24-22 at the end of the first half. All four of his free throws came in the final 10 seconds of the half.

Sulphur Springs scored first in the second half, thanks to an inbound pass from Cason Arrington underneath their own basket. Arrington inbounded to a wide open Caleb Alexander who was able to knock down the 3-pointer. Arrington went on to score a basket of his own on the following possession.

Things stayed close for the remainder of the third quarter, as the Wildcats never led by more than five points. Whisenhunt went to the free throw line with 34.7 seconds left in the frame, making one of them to give his team a two-point lead entering the final quarter.

The Wildcats opened the fourth quarter by knocking down four consecutive free throws, two of which were the result of Rockwall’s coach receiving a technical foul. The Rockwall coach would later be ejected from the game with 4:27 left to play, at which point the Wildcats led 44-37.

A layup from Alexander pushed their lead to 46-37, giving them their largest lead of the night, before the Yellowjackets mounted a strong comeback. Rockwall cut the Wildcats lead to 49-46, though they were never fully able to capitalize. Leading just 52-51 with 5.1 seconds left in the game, Alexander went to the line for a pair of free throws.

The senior made the first, but missed the second, giving the Yellowjackets the ball and needing just two points to tie. Rockwall fumbled the rebound and threw up a desperation shot from across the court, missing the shot and giving Sulphur Springs the 53-51 victory.

Alexander led the way offensively for the Wildcats, finishing with 13 points. The Wildcats senior scored 12 of his points in the second half, including nine points in the fourth quarter, helping hold off the Yellowjackets comeback.

Behind him were Lynn and Turner who had 11 points each. Both Lynn and Turner did a majority of their scoring in the first half, with 16 of their combined 22 points coming before halftime.

Also finishing in double-digits for Sulphur Springs was Whisenhunt who had 10 points on the night. Whisenhunt scored seven points in the second half, making a pair of shots and knocking down thee free throws. 

Other scores for Sulphur Springs were senior Justin Haire and Myles who each had four points. Despite walking away with just four points, each of the Wildcats made big impacts in other facets of the game.

The win pushes Sulphur Springs’ record to 6-0 to open the year, keeping them undefeated to open the season. They will have their biggest test of the season Thursday when they take on Atascocita at 1:30 p.m. Atascocita is currently ranked No. 5 in 6A according to TABC. Coverage of that game will be published on Front Porch News.

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