The Wild Rose Wildcats appeared to have the upper hand for the most part in the first half of a Jan. 9 boys basketball matchup with the Wautoma Hornets, but were stung in the second half, 71-61, as the visitors came on strong.
“Hats off to Wautoma – they played a great game and deserved to win,” stated Wild Rose Head Coach Jeff Murphy. “We have to do a better job through adversity, fighting through the ups and downs of the basketball game. We can learn from the mistakes made, and continue to improve. We’ll continue to work hard and get better.”
Things were relatively close in the earlier goings of the game, whether there being a 3-point or 4-point spread with Wild Rose being out front. Working together the five Wildcats on the court would extend their lead to 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, even 13 points at various stages. Late in the half saw Wautoma fighting back to come within 3 and 2, but the hosts were sent to the free throw line a couple of times to extend the lead back to 6. Just when it appeared that would be the spread going into halftime, a Hornet shot buzzer went in for a 34-31 halftime score, with Wild Rose’s lead being slimmed down.
The first half excitement saw Johnathon King putting up scores totaling 11 points for Wild Rose, starting with a 3-point goal and following it up with 2 of 2 free throws. Kane Cronkrite rolled up 9 points, 7 of 10 free throws, while Cesar Garcia put up 8 points, going 2-2 at the free throw line. Cavan Williams contributed 4 points for the hosts.
Wautoma’s scoring was done by four players, led by Gabriel Ascher with 12 points including two 3-pointers. Caleb Koats had 8 points based on two 3-point shots, Sam Weiss 6 points on two 3-pointers, and Logan Johnson with 5 points including a 3. Wautoma registered 10 fouls in the half to Wild Rose’s 6.
It didn’t rake the Hornets long in the second half to tie the score at 34 with free throws from Chandler Krueger and Caleb Koats. Garcia put the Wildcats back up by 2, but it was difficult to stay ahead. The visitors took a slim lead with just under 14 minutes to play. Wautoma would go up by 5, then Wild Rose came back to tie things up at 41. The teams battled through a number of lead changes before Wautoma held onto the lead for good.
Wild Rose was only behind by 2 late in the game, but Wautoma came on with an extra surge to put the game out of reach for the hosts, 71-61. Gabriel Ascher led the Hornet surge with 13 points, going 7-10 at the free throw line. Caleb Koats wasn’t far behind with 10 points, hitting a 3. Joseph Ascher came up with 6 points, highlighted by a 3, while Johnson put up 5 with a 3 and 2 of 2 free throws.
Sam Walters led the 5 Wildcats in the half with 9 points, beginning with a 3. Williams wasn’t far behind with 8 points. King put up a 5 beginning with a 3, while Cronkrite contributed 3 points.
Gabriel Ascher topped all scorers in the game with 25 Wautoma points, hitting 7 of 10 free throws and two 3-point shots. Caleb Koats tallied 18 points behind three 3-point goals, while Logan Johnson tallied 10 behind two 3-point goals and 2 of 2 free throws. Sam Weiss rolled up 8 points behind two 3-point shots and 2 of 2 free throws. Joe Ascher contributed a 3-pointer.
Overall the Hornets were 15-24 at the free throw line, sank ten 3-point shots, and tallied 18 fouls.
Wild Rose’s five scorers were led by Johnathan King’s 16 points, highlighted by two 3-point goals. Kane Cronkrite and Cavan Williams each put up 12 points, with Cronkrite going 8-14 at the free throw line. Sam Walters rolled up 11 points, hitting a 3, while Cesar Garcia rolled up 10 points, going 2-2 at the free throw line.
Overall the Wildcats were 12-21 at the free throw line, sank three 3-point shots, and tallied 16 fouls.