The Neosho Wildcats evened their record at 8-8 overall with a 62-42 victory Friday night over McDonald County on Homecoming.
The Wildcats entered the new year at 6-6 overall, then took a pair of losses against Republic and Willard in Central Ozark Conference play.
Neosho won last Friday night 48-39 on East Newton’s Homecoming and the Wildcats used a 20-9 third quarter to put away the Mustangs in front of a traditional festive crowd, both on Homecoming and against McDonald County.
Neosho seniors Kaden King, A.C. Marion, and Cole Seward led the way both Friday nights and against McDonald County, the trio combined for 40 points.
King, named Homecoming King between games Friday night, finished with 14 points and Marion and Seward each had 13. Marion scored most of his points in the first half, while King and Seward each generated most of their points in the second half.
Mason Gammons added eight points, Derek Ferguson five, Quincey Willis and Cade Cradduck four each, and Landon Austin earned one point on a late free throw.
McDonald County senior post Cooper Reece surpassed 1,000 career points with some late free throws and led the Mustangs with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Marion’s old-fashioned three-point play with 3 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter gave Reece his fourth personal foul.
Cole Martin and Boston Dowd added nine and eight points for McDonald County.
Neosho earned another win against a Class 4, District 12 opponent — the Wildcats can add their 62-42 victory over McDonald County to previous victories this season against Cassville (52-49) and Monett (63-58) back in December.
The Wildcats return home Tuesday for another varsity doubleheader, this one against COC and district rival Carl Junction. Neosho can get an inside track on a top two district seed and that first conference victory against Carl Junction, who’s struggled this season with two victories.
Carl Junction, though, features senior forward and Southwest Baptist recruit Trent Smith, one of the premier basketball players in the area.
McDonald County dropped to 4-13 overall and the Mustangs have lost five straight contests (Monett 78-67, Seneca 59-52, Lamar 65-61, Cassville 72-64, Neosho 62-42) since their 48-39 victory opening January against Aurora.
The Mustangs are back in action on the road Tuesday against Strafford, part of a stretch of six consecutive road games for McDonald County that includes Big 8 Conference West foes East Newton and Nevada.