By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
The Webb City Cardinals felt the pressure.
Memphis Sheffield frustrated Webb City by using a full-court press the entire game and rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat the Cardinals 68-64 on Thursday night in the Neosho Holiday Classic at Neosho High School.
“They’re really quick, and they’re in really good shape,” Webb City coach Landon Cornish said of the Knights, who improved to 7-2 on the season. “We have to learn we can’t dribble through the press.”
Webb City (6-2) was successful against the pressure at times, taking a 36-27 halftime lead after outscoring Sheffield 18-11 in the second quarter.
The Cardinals found success when they were able to get into a half-court set with senior Kohl Slaughter inside. Slaughter led Webb City with 25 points and executed three 3-point plays.
Webb City extended its lead to 46-35 with 5:02 left in the third quarter when Slaughter hit two free throws.
However, the Cardinals’ success never made the Knights consider backing away from the press.
“We wanted to keep applying pressure,” Sheffield coach Clyde Delamar said. “This wasn’t new for us. We usually have a surge. Get some turnovers, get a few steals and make a run.”
The Knights forced Webb City into 10 turnovers in the third quarter and tied the game at 48 when senior guard Larry Kimber hit a 3-pointer with 1:45 left in the quarter.
Webb City regained a lead back to 57-50 with 6:48 remaining when senior John Roderique scored on a reverse layup.
Sheffield responded with a 12-0 run, consisting mostly of easy buckets off turnovers and capped by a 3-pointer and layup from senior guard Broderick Davis, who led Sheffield with 25 points.
Most of the Knights’ points came off easy buckets in transition as senior forward Jaylon Smith and senior guard Toderick Davis added 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Nate Brown and Phoenix Johnson contributed 16 and 11 points for the Cardinals.
With the loss, Webb City will face St. Joseph-Lafayette at 3:30 p.m. today.
“We have to come back and face a Lafayette team that is ranked in Class 4,” Cornish said. “We don’t have any time to sulk. We have to rebound and come back from this one.”
Sheffield will play St. Louis Christian at 6:30 tonight in the winners’ bracket.
Sunrise Christian 68, Carthage 44
There was never any argument over who was favored.
Sunrise Christian, a private school in Kansas, has nine players on its roster who are being recruited by Division I schools, according to Rivals.com. Buffaloes junior guard Laurawls Nairn is considered the No. 72 prospect in the nation for 2014 and is being courted by the likes of the Kansas Jayhawks.
The game kept to script early as Sunrise Christian opened with an 8-0 run.
However, the Carthage Tigers retaliated to tie the game with an 8-0 run of their own. From then on up until midway through the third quarter, Carthage kept the game quite interesting.
Carthage (3-7) led 17-16 in the second quarter and tied the game at 26 in third quarter when sophomore guard Ralston Schramm hit a 3-pointer.
After Schramm’s trey, Sunrise Christian (13-0) outscored the Tigers 22-7 the rest of the quarter and took control of the game.
“I’m proud of this group,” Carthage coach Steve Ray said. “You never accept a loss, but when you’re in a game like this you can approach it two ways. You can either be the Washington Generals or you can come in and battle. Our kids represented us well.”
Junior Marvin Clark led the Buffaloes with 16 points. Nairn scored 12 with numerous dazzling assists, and Sebastian Saize Soto contributed 10 points.
Senior forward Nathan Reid led Carthage with 14 points.
Sunrise Christian advances to play Bentonville at 5 p.m. today. Carthage will play Kansas City Ruskin at 1 p.m. today.
McDonald County 54, Neosho 45
With the game tied at 32 entering the fourth quarter, the McDonald County Mustangs ran away with the game in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Wildcats 22-13.
Senior Drey Fickle led McDonald County with 14 points, and senior Pablo Alvarez added 13.
Freshman forward Darrian Guillory paced the Wildcats with 13 points.
McDonald County will play Van Buren at 11:30 a.m. today, while Neosho will face Pierce City at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
In other games Thursday, Bentonville edged Lafayette 59-55, St. Louis Christian beat Ruskin 60-54 and Morrilton defeated Pierce City 48-38.
Today’s Boys Games
At Neosho High School
10 a.m.—West Memphis, Ark. vs. Morrilton, Ark. 11:30 a.m.—Van Buren, Ark. vs. McDonald County. 1 p.m.—K.C. Ruskin vs. Carthage. 3:30—Lafayette vs. Webb City. 5—Bentonville, Ark. vs. Sunrise Christian. 6:30—St. Louis Christian vs. Memphis Sheffield. 8—Slam dunk and 3-point contests.