Facing a young, yet more experienced Webster Groves team on Thursday, the Neosho boys got started slow and fell to the Statesmen 71-17 in the first round of the Kaminsky Classic at Missouri Southern State University.
The Statesmen, coming off a 23 win season, took off on a 12-0 run to open the game before Neosho’s Andy Lett buried a 3-pointer midway through the period. That didn’t slow Webster Groves though, as they closed the period with a 23-3 lead.
The Wildcats would muster only a jump shot by Darrian Guillory in the second quarter and trailed 41-5 at the half. They went on to sink four 3-pointers in the second half — 15 of their 17 points came by way of the 3-pointer — with two by Caden Hendricks in the third quarter, and one each from Preston Johnson and Lett in the fourth.
“They’re a powerhouse program,” Wildcats coach Jason Horn said. “They have a really strong sophomore class. They’ve got basketball players that have played a lot of basketball.”
Alex Floresca, a 6-foot-6 sophomore forward, roamed the paint for the Statesmen where he scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half. Michael Gulve took control in the third quarter where he scored nine of his 13 points.
Chris Gordon added six points for the Statesmen while Jamal Hinton pitched in nine, Sam Craig five, Stephen Harris five, Leland Bradford two, Nick Delgado four, Cameron Hilton six and Kielan Jones one.
Lett and Hendricks led the Wildcats with six points apiece while Johnson had three and Guillory two.
Horn said his Wildcats, despite taking their lumps now, will be better for it in the future.
“It’s a process,” Horn said of the rebuilding process. “It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. All we can ask (our players) to do is keep pushing through it and keep battling in tough situations.”