One night after playing perhaps their best game of the season, the Neosho Wildcats never could get going on Saturday as they fell to the William Chrisman Bears 85-45 in the seventh place game of the Kaminsky Classic at Missouri Southern State University.
Saturday’s contest was in stark contrast to Friday’s game against Vashon (St. Louis), when one bad quarter kept the Wildcats from claiming their first victory of the season in a 61-57 loss.
The Wildcats struggled from the get-go on Saturday as they fell behind 24-0 midway through the first quarter. Neosho closed the period on a 7-2 run, but the Bears answered with 36 points in the second quarter to grab a 62-23 lead at halftime. They were up 81-34 after three quarters.
It was a frustrating finish to the week for the Wildcats, especially after Friday’s performance in which they played so well.
“We just didn’t do what it takes to get a win,” Wildcats coach Jason Horn said. “I’m disappointed and I know (the players) are disappointed.”
Horn reiterated what he’s been saying for the past several weeks: Any excuses about the team being young are no longer viable, and are becoming old hat.
“You’re 15 games in, you’re not young anymore,” he said. “You have to make plays. They’re doing the right things in practice it’s just a matter of doing it in games. We’ve just got to get some consistency.”
Elyzer Grullon, Alex Ball and Chris Horn led the Bears with 13 points apiece while Brett Pendergrist and Eli Alvis turned in 12 each.
Darrian Guillory rattled in 19 points for the Wildcats while Chris Paullus added one, Justin McKee five, Caden Hendricks six, Brett Williams two, Lukas Werneke two, Andy Lett three, Preston Johnson five and Tanner Mitchell two.
After a 71-17 loss in their first game of the tournament, the Wildcats bounced back on Friday and carried a 26-21 lead into halftime against Vashon, but the Wolverines opened the third quarter on a 13-0 run as Derrick Mitchell scored 14 points in the third quarter, including nine during the run.
Mitchell, who had 19 points off the bench, helped the Wolverines to a 25-3 swing in the quarter to take a 46-29 lead into the fourth.
Neosho, however, wasn’t done. The Wildcats came storming right back to cut the deficit to four in the fourth quarter as they hit 13 of their 20 free throws in the quarter, including 10-straight from senior Andy Lett during the game. But the Wildcats’ 28-15 fourth quarter swing wasn’t enough to put the Wolverines away.
Page 2 of 2 - “We had a really good game yesterday,” Horn said. “Our effort was good. Defensively we were good, offensively we were good and we ran the floor. We did everything we were supposed to do against a good team. On the flipside to that, we come back (Saturday) and our effort was poor to say the least.”
Damien Taylor turned in 12 points for the Wolverines while Brandon Jones added four, Antonio Meanus six, Cedric Curry eight, Montario Smith eight and Deion Davis four.
Caden Hendricks paced Neosho with 19 points while Lett finished with 16, Justin McKee four, Brett Williams two, Lukas Werneke one and Preston Johnson two. Darrian Guillory scored 13 points off the bench for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday when the entertain Nixa at 6 p.m. at NHS.