The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 30, 2013

Outside shooting key to Cassville win

Success from the outside may have been the key for Cassville in beating Pea Ridge to claim the Washburn Southwest Holiday Tournament on Saturday night.

Second-seeded Cassville, which sank nine treys, received 18 points from 6-foot-1 sophomore Noah Hadlow in the 59-54 win against the favored Blackhawks to avenge the title loss of 49-47 last year.

Said Cassville coach Danny Powers on Monday: “Pea Ridge (Ark.) did a good job of taking away the inside game after we had worked the ball inside the first two games of the tournament.

“Our outside shooting was a key,” Powers said. “Also, we were able to play physical defense.”

Ethan Lowery, the Wildcats’ 6-7, 200-pound senior, had plenty of scoring help against Pea Ridge, Powers said.

Marcus Weatherman, a 6-0 senior, tallied 13 to support Hadlow and 5-11 junior Riley Lekarczyk had nine. Lowery scored 11 after games of 25 and 28 in victories of 65-49 and 75-68 against Wheaton and Southwest, respectively.

Powers said 6-1 junior Gabe Kirk completes the usual Cassville starters.

The Wildcats’ seven-player rotation is rounded out by 6-4 senior Kayleb Sparks and 6-0 junior Josh Brown.

Cassville’s fourth straight victory evened its record at 4-4.

“We lost to Strafford, Catholic and Conway in the Strafford Tournament,” Powers said. “Those were very tough games.

“Then, after a game at Blue Eye was postponed, we lost our home opener to (defending Class 4 champion) Republic,” Powers said.

The Wildcats started their winning streak on the road by beating Carthage 57-49 on Dec. 20 behind Lowery’s 29 points.

Kirk and Lowery gained starting experience in 2012-13 for the Big 8 Conference member. All-leaguer Lowery averaged 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds.

“Right now we’re comfortable about playing together,” Powers said. “Early, guys may have been timid. The Southwest championship has to boost our confidence.”

Powers believes that improved outside shooting could help the Wildcats move up from their 3-4 finish in the Big 8 last season.

“Those 3s we hit against Pea Ridge is an example,” Powers said. “I believe we had 33 all of last season.

“We were something like 8-15 overall last season,” Powers said. “We lost several of the games in the fourth quarter. We may have underachieved.”

Cassville resumes on Jan. 3 by visiting Fair Grove in another nonconference game. The Wildcats open in the Big 8 with heavyweights Carl Junction, Mount Vernon and Lamar.

Powers, who’s assisted by Ron Hudson and Derek Judd, is in his third season as head coach at Cassville.

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