Bobcats get win heading into Thanksgiving break
BERRYVILLE -- It can be tough to get excited to play a basketball game two days before Thanksgiving, but the Berryville Bobcats were ready to go Tuesday evening in a 49-41 home victory over the Cassville (Mo) Wildcats.
"We didn't shoot the ball as well as we normally do, and that probably had a lot to do with them," Berryville coach Brent Compton said. "But our kids found a way to pull it out. It seemed like when things got close and got tough, we found a way to get a loose ball, we found a way to get a rebound and find an open shooter and we knocked it down."
With two minutes remaining, the Wildcats had cut the lead to three, but a basket by Luke Sugg extended the lead to five and two free throws by Cole Parton extended the lead to seven. A Wildcat basket trimmed Berryville's lead to five, but that is as close as Cassville got, as free throws by Zach Webb and Parton helped get Berryville the victory.
Compton said Cassville was a good test for the Bobcats heading into Thanksgiving break.
"Cassville is real athletic," Compton said. "They are strong kids. They are big. They are a tough matchup for us. All of their kids have decent size. They just kept rotating big kids in there and our guys did a good job boxing them out. We gave them one look and that's key."
Kelby Howerton scored the first basket of the game for the Bobcats and a Ty Allen three-pointer gave the Bobcats an early 5-4 lead. Webb's basket near the end of the quarter gave Berryville a 12-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Allen made two more three-pointers in the second quarter and led 23-18 at halftime. Brady Smith's basket in the third quarter extended Berryville's lead to 30-22 and the Bobcats led 33-31 going into the final quarter.
One week into the season, Compton feels confident with where his team stands.
"We have played two totally different games," Compton said. "One really fast-paced game where we scored a lot of points and shot the ball well and then a slower-paced game where we found a way to win in the 40s. I really like my guys. They are winners. They are going to fight you to the end. We are going to take a couple of days off, spend some time with the family and get back after it this weekend."
Parton finished the game with 17 points, while Allen had 14 and Webb scored eight.
As part of the Omaha Border Classic, the Bobcats play Lead Hill at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Berryville 44, Crane (Mo.) 39
Beating a team that has won a state championship is impressive. Beating a team that has won four consecutive state championships is even more impressive. The only negative thing for the Lady Bobcats is, their coach says they didn't play their best ballgame.
"Crane is a four-time defending state champion in the state of Missouri," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "They lost several players, but they still have several nice players so you can take away from it that you beat a team that won four straight state championships. We didn't play our best game. Our girls know that and we are going to have to play better. We are going to have to guard better. We are going to have to execute better both offensively and defensively, but we are going to work hard every day and see if we can't do that."
The Lady Bobcats led 15-7 at the end of the first quarter and had a 19-14 lead with three minutes remaining in the second quarter before the Lady Pirates went on a 10-6 run to close the half.
A basket by Kelcee Hopper and a three-pointer helped extend the Berryville lead to 32-29 midway through the third quarter. Baskets by Jeanessa Smith late in the third quarter gave Berryville a 37-32 lead going into the final quarter, and the Lady Bobcats were able to hang on for the victory.
"One thing we work on, especially late in games, is taking care of the ball," Cornelison said. "We want to make people foul us and put us on the free-throw line. Luckily, we were able to execute and take care of the basketball. That pretty much sealed the victory for us."
Baylea Smith finished with 19 points, while Jeanessa Smith had 11 and Hopper had nine.
Berryville will play Green Forest at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the Omaha Border Classic.