A strong final push wasn’t enough for the Neosho boys basketball team as they fell to Springfield Central and closed out the season in the first-round of the Class 5, District 12 Tournament on Saturday at Parkview High School.
The Wildcats (1-22) had a chance late in the game as Kaden Roy tied it late in the fourth quarter on a driving layup to breathe new life into the game. The Wildcats then turned to their press defense, but Central drew a foul, hit a free throw and never looked back.
Despite missing point guard Brett Williams, who was sick, the Wildcats had big performances from Darrian Guillory and Caden Hendricks. Guillory finished with 22 points to lead all scorers, while Hendricks buried four 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 20 points. Roy, meanwhile, finished with seven points and senior Andy Lett added two.
Steven Jones paced Central with 14 points, while DeAngelo Bedell had nine, Bradley Hardin three, Quatrevious Robinson seven, Trevion Neal nine, Isaiah Holyfield five, Jordan Johnson six and Ryan Deckard two.
While they played with six freshmen, three sophomores, one junior and one senior this season, the Wildcats certainly improved fundamentally as the year went along.
“We’re 100 times better than we were,” Neosho coach Jason Horn said. “Defensively, we understand concepts now and how to prepare for another team. Sometimes physically we’re not ready to go out and do what we need to do, but we’ll get there. We can now run multiple sets, and we’re able to adjust on the fly a lot more. I’m happy with them. I don’t want to put a number on it, but I think next year will be totally different.”