Wildcats get close, fall at the buzzer
By Jarann Johnson
The home team is usually favored to win a close game, but that wasn’t so Monday. The Center-Stanton Wildcats entered Monday’s home game against Wilton-Wing on a 9-game losing streak.
The Wildcats almost broke their losing streak but a fade-away 3-pointer by Wilton-Wing’s starting point guard, Brandon Jenkins, ended those hopes at the buzzer, 56-53. Jenkins scored half of his team’s points with 28 on the night.
In the first quarter of the game Wilton-Wing scored 12 points on layups and added two more at the free-throw line for a 14-9. It was clear that the Wildcats needed to figure out a way to stop Wilton-Wing’s drives to the basket if they wanted to overcome the 5-point deficit.
Wildcats’ Head Coach Cordell Bender said the game plan to stop Wilton-Wing’s drives and easy attempts at the rim were to close down the gaps that Jenkins exposed in the first quarter.
“When he penetrated we just had to close out the gaps and that’s one thing that Jenkins does really well when he has the ball, he attacks. So we just had to cut that lane off best we could,” Bender said.
The Wildcats did a better job of slowing down drives to the basket and started the second quarter with a 6-1 run to tie the game. Weston Meckle, Wildcats’ starting small forward, started the run with two free throws.
Cole Helmers had one chance to put the Wildcats in the lead but missed a bonus free throw after making a basket and being fouled. Shortly after the missed free throw Helmers had a chance to tie the game after stealing a pass but missed the layup.
The Wildcats finally tied the game up with 3 minutes left in the first half when Karson Backer, point guard, made a 3-pointer, tying the game 20-20. After Backer’s 3-pointer the Wildcats made a strong push going on an 8-3 run to end the half and led 28-23.