Wildcats lasso Stallions in upset 66-60 at homecoming

Darius Smith making a nice lay-up. (Ed Berti)
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Another 2-point lay-up. (Ed Berti)
Jeremiah Wooten shoots a 3-pointer. (Ed Berti)
LB Boyette nets a shot with nice touch. (Ed Berti)
Action inside the paint. (Ed Berti)
Jeremiah Murphy drops in a basket for 2 points. (Ed Berti)
A jump shot for 2 points. (Ed Berti)

The 2-1 Stallions matched up against the Sugar Creek Wildcats 0-4 on Friday night to come away disappointed on homecoming night. Just a few weeks ago the Stallions defeated the Wildcats 60-49. Queen’s Grant held a 25 point lead in the second half before the Wildcats mounted a fourth period charge to make the game close.

However, on Friday night it was a completely different basketball game, the Wildcats were much more aggressive, banged the boards, and connected on key 3-point shots whenever the Stallions seemed to gain a momentum swing.

One of the key challenges in the game for the Stallions was turnovers. The team committed 12 turnovers in the first half alone. They played better and reduced the turnovers in the second half, but not enough to overcome their deficit as they did not shoot well from the floor. The Stallions missed too many easy lay-ups, second shot opportunities which cost them the ball game in the end.

In the first half, the Stallions started off on a 9-2 run, after a time out called by the Wildcats, they hit two consecutive 3-point shots. The period ended with the Wildcats holding a slim 12-11 lead.

In the second period, which was fast paced, the transition game for both teams appeared to be working, however, the Wildcats continued to land 3-pointers while the Stallions were making 2-point shots and shooting well from the foul line to keep it close. By the intermission, the Wildcats held a 31-25 advantage.

Senior Jeremiah Murphy, the team leader, was having himself a solid game scoring 12 points in the first half with 8 rebounds for Queen’s Grant keeping the team in striking distance.

During the second half, the two teams came out aggressive, however, the Stallions shooting was cold until the final 3:30 of the third period when they began to land shots with consistency. Meanwhile, the Wildcats made their shots count.

The Wildcats had expanded their lead to 44-32. The Stallions would string together a nice 10-point run with 11.2 seconds remaining on the scoreboard clock with the score 44-42. A time out was called, the Wildcats took possession from center court, and at the buzzer BJ Najay landed a 3-point shot giving the reeling Wildcats some breathing room ending the period with a 47-42 lead.

In the fourth period, both teams battled under the boards, pushed the ball down the floor at a quick pace. The tempo picked up as both clubs were seeking an advantage trying to create turnovers. Both teams applied full court and half court press tactics to get this accomplished to try generating a turnover to create an easy transition basket. However, both teams for the most part were able to break through the press and matriculate the basketball down the floor.

Both Murphy and senior teammate LB Boyette made major contributions along with junior point guard Jeremiah Wooten. Also, senior center Jaden Bilal, particularly in the fourth period off the bench hauled down a few key rebounds and scored an important basket when he returned to the game to spark the Stallions.

Jeremiah Murphy led all scorers with 27 points, he also had a game high 17 rebounds for his third double-double during the early going this season. LB Boyette added 15 points, and Wooten 9.

Believe the coaches need to find a way to work in there 6-8, 210 pound senior center Bilal for more minutes, as the team is using 2 guards, with a combination of small forwards between 6-3 and 6-5. The Stallions can use the big man to control the boards along with Murphy at 6-5 to clog up the middle.

The Stallions are now 2-2 on the season, they will play Greater Cabarrus away on Tuesday, November 25th. The Wildcats picked up their first victory of the season.

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