|Wallace Wildcats struggle with Knights, battle with Tigers|
By Travis McConnell
All five Wallace starters scored in the first quarter, propelling the Wildcats to an early 17-13 lead, as they hosted the South Platte Blue Knights Thursday night. However, the first quarter proved to be the only bright spot for the Wildcats.
After a slow start by both teams, Shawn Christensen got the Wildcats on the board with a driving layup to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. Hunter Walker of South Platte then scored eight straight points for the Blue Knights. However, back-to-back three pointers by Sean May and Lane Swedberg tied the game at eight.
A free throw and field goal by Ryan Sowle tied the game at 11 following a three point play by South Platte’s James McClung.
Sowle’s three points were the start of a 9-0 run by the Wildcats that gave Wallace a 17-11 lead late in the first quarter. Jordan Christner capped the Wallace run with a long two pointer. South Platte’s Kyle Krause hit two free throws to cut the Wallace lead to 17-13 at the end of the first quarter.
The good offensive production came to a halt in the second and third quarters for the Wildcats. A long three pointer by May and a field goal and free throw by Swedberg was all the offense the Wildcats could muster in the second, as they were outscored 18-6.
At halftime the Blue Knights held a 31-23 advantage.
South Platte blew the game open in the third quarter when they exploded for 28 points. Wallace struggled again at the offensive end. The Wildcats were held to eight third quarter points on a Christensen two pointer, two three pointers by May and a free throw by Sowle.
The Blue Knights led 59-31 after three quarters and cruised to a 71-44 victory.
May led the Wildcats with 18 points. Swedberg added eight points. Other scorers for the Wildcats included Christensen and Sowle with five each, Christner with four and Taylor Doell and Alex Pacheco with two each.
South Platte....13 18 28 12 71
Wallace……….17 6 8 13 44
Wallace vs. Paxton
The Wallace Wildcats had their best effort for four quarters Friday night when they travelled to Paxton looking to upset the 7-3 Paxton Tigers.
The Wildcats used their best balance of the season to put a scare in the Tigers, as five players scored seven or more points.
However, the Tigers survived a fourth quarter come back and used good free throw shooting in the last minutes to pull away for a 76-62 win.
Freshman Cody Corfield led the Tigers offensively as they led by double digits most of the first half and the score was 34-24 at halftime.
Paxton extended its lead to 44-29 midway through the third quarter before Wallace staged the first of two comebacks. The Wildcats outscored the Tigers 16-6 over the final 3:30 seconds of the quarter to cut the lead to 50-45. But, Paxton’s Koby Archuletta hit a big three pointer in the final seconds to push the Tiger lead back to eight entering the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats regained the momentum early in the fourth quarter by getting the ball inside to their post players. Shawn Christensen scored six points in the first three minutes of the quarter as Wallace outscored the Tigers 13-7.
Jordan Christner hit two free throws to cut the Tiger lead to 60-58 with 4:25 to play in the fourth.
However, that was as close as the Wildcats would get and the Tigers hit seven of nine free throws down the stretch to pull out the hard fought victory.
Christensen led the Wildcats with 18 points. May joined him in double figures with 15. Lane Swedberg had nine points. Jordan Christner and Taylor Doell each had seven points and Ryan Sowle added six.
Wallace…13 11 21 17 62
Paxton…..18 16 19 23 76
The Wildcats will host Dundy County/Stratton on Tuesday and travel to Arthur County on Thursday before beginning conference tournament play on Saturday.