After almost a full week off for Thanksgiving Break, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats returned to action Tuesday, when they hit the road to face Lakeview Centennial. While the Patriots of Lakeview Centennial were still looking for their first win of the season, they would prove to be a tough test for the Wildcats in their first game back.
The game opened with one of the slower first quarters of the season for Sulphur Springs, a team who averages over 20 points in the first quarter of games this season. The Patriots came out of the gate hot, scoring six of the first eight points to take a 6-2 lead in the opening minutes.
The Wildcats were able to slow their offense down however, as the Patriots would only score six more points in the entire frame. While Sulphur Springs didn’t put up a ton of points themselves, they were able to slow the momentum down and cut the deficit to 12-11 at the end of the first quarter.
The Patriots once again opened the second frame with a ton of momentum, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and creating some separation between themselves and Sulphur Springs. The Wildcats wouldn’t let them get ahead, however, matching them every step of the way for the remainder of the half and going into the locker room still trailing by one point.
It wasn’t until the second half when the Wildcats started to take the lead, giving themselves a 37-32 lead in the third quarter. Lakeview refused to go away either, however. With less than 20 seconds in the frame, the Patriots, who were trailing by three, forced a turnover to give themselves the ball back.
Lakeview Centennial went the other way and got a basket, also forcing a foul in the process. They also knocked down the free throw, evening up the game at 39-39 entering the final quarter.
It was the fourth quarter when the Wildcats finally titled things all the way in their favor. Sulphur Springs completely dominated the final frame, outscoring Lakeview Centennial 18-5 and winning the game by a final score of 57-44.
Senior Parker Whisenhunt was once again the leading scorer for the Wildcats, as he was also one of only two players to log over 30 minutes in the game. Whisenhunt had 21 points on 8-12 shooting, going a very efficient 7-9 on his 2-point attempts.
He also had a team-high four steals, and tied for the team-high in blocks, also with four. Whisenhunt record three rebounds and a pair of assists as well.
The only other Wildcat to finish in double-digits was fellow senior Kordrick Turner. Turner was also the only other player to record 30 or more minutes in the game.
Turner had another impressive double-double, finishing with 15 points and 15 rebounds. The big man shot 6-13 from the field and led the team with three assists, while also rejecting a pair of shots from the Patriots.
Junior DJ Wilkerson had a breakout performance, scoring seven points on an efficient 3-4 shooting. Wilkerson also had three rebounds and one assist, and tied with Whisenhunt for the second-highest +/- on the team at +15 in 20 minutes of action.
The team-leader in +/- was Malachi Myles, who had an impressive +21 in 24 minutes of action. Myles contributed four points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The other two scorers for Sulphur Springs were sophomore Theo Mckelvy and senior Branson Lynn, who combined for 10 points. Mckelvy had six points on 3-5 shooting, while Lynn had four points on 2-4 from the field.
Mckelvy was also able to pull in four rebounds, while Lynn dished out a pair of assists and grabbed a pair of boards.
The win keeps the No. 10 ranked Wildcats undefeated, and pushes their record to 6-0 to open the season. They will get the chance to put that undefeated record on the line this weekend in the Mansfield Tournament.
The opening game of the Mansfield Tournament is Thursday, at 1:30 p.m. against Frisco Liberty. Coverage of the tournament will be provided on Front Porch News.