PEA RIDGE, Ark. — The fourth quarter again proved to be the weakest part of the game for the Neosho Wildcats against the NWA Hornets in the Battle at the Ridge consolation bracket Friday night, a night after Neosho saw a lead entering the fourth evaporate in a 61-54 loss to Bearden.
Neosho trailed the NWA Hornets 41-39 entering the final eight minutes, but the Hornets outscored Neosho 22-6 in the fourth to earn a 63-45 victory.
The Hornets outscored Neosho, in fact, 43-15 in the second half, as the Wildcats’ 30-20 halftime lead evaporated in the final 16 minutes.
Neosho dropped to 1-5 on the season and played Joe T. Robinson for seventh place Saturday.
Leading the way Friday night for the Wildcats were A.C. Marion and Brady Wise with 12 points each, although Wise scored all his in the first half as he was sidelined for the second half with his knee wrapped. Wise missed all of Thursday night’s game against Bearden.
Kaden King (Friday night’s hustle award winner) added nine points and Cade Cradduck six.
Daniel Wenger led the NWA Hornets with 15 points, while Drake Griebel added 14 and Aaron Sanders and Chase Ammons 12 each for a Hornet squad who stung Neosho with four players in double-digits.
“They applied some three-quarter court, halfcourt pressure,” Neosho head coach Tony Branscum told Josh King of Neosho Wildcat Sports. “We didn’t handle it as well as we needed to, it was pretty simple to find out what went wrong. We just didn’t get the ball in the middle, we ran away from the ball, and you run away from the ball and fail to fill the middle, that’s a disaster.”
The NWA Hornets made seven 3-point shots in the second half.