As it has all season, one rough quarter proved to be the downfall for the Neosho boys on Saturday as they fell to Pierce City, 48-38, in the 13th place game of the 58th annual Neosho Holiday Classic at Neosho High School.
At halftime it appeared the Wildcats were primed to collect their first victory of the season after putting together a solid second quarter that saw them go in front by as many a seven points (24-17). Credit the Eagles, however, as they didn’t allow the letdown to affect them in the second half as they outscored the Wildcats 18-9 in the third to re-gain the lead, 40-33.
“In the first half I thought we didn’t do a real good job of defending and valuing the ball,” Eagles coach Matt Street said. “But in the second half we made some adjustments and did a much better job of closing out on shooters. On offense we were a little more patient.”
Their newfound offense allowed the Eagles to pull ahead 44-33 in the fourth quarter. It was in stark contrast to the Wildcats, who struggled to put the ball in the basket in the fourth quarter.
It also was in contrast to Neosho’s first half, when the 3-pointer proved to be best friend. Neosho hit five treys, including two big dimes by sophomore guard Caden Hendricks to put them in front 24-17. That efficiency gave the Wildcats some momentum heading into the second half.
It was much of the same story in the first quarter, too. Pierce City built a 10-3 lead right out of the gate before 3-pointers by Brett Williams and Lukas Werneke helped cut the Eagles’ advantage to 12-11.
In the end, however, the Wildcats left that momentum in the locker room at the half.
Kole Kelley led the Eagles with 16 points while Zack Hyde turned in 10, Colton Drollinger seven, Cody Fitchpatrick six, Cedric O’Hara four, Ryan Turner two and Michael Merriman two.