Breakneck pace propels ICC over county rivals from Melbourne
Ever get out of a parked car and step into 70-mph traffic on a busy freeway?
That has to be close to what the Melbourne Bearkatz felt as they made the short trip down Highway 9 to tangle with the Izard County Consolidated Cougars Nov. 22 in 1A-2 South Conference play.
Like standing dangerously close to the road as a fleet of sports cars whiz by at an illegal rate of speed.
Attacking the rim with all the gusto of a hungry bunch of coyotes, the Cougars used a revved-up fast break to knock off the Bearkatz 77-52.
Earlier in the evening, the Lady Bearkatz showed they have a little flash and dash of their own, as Melbourne used a second-half charge to drop the homestanding Lady Cougars 54-41.
In boys' action, the first two minutes told the story of the game.
Moving the ball down the floor in one or two passes that never touched the ground, ICC (10-3, 4-0) jumped on top quickly and never looked back.
The one-two punch of Joey Stefka and Kyle McCandlis led the Cougars' full throttle attack, as the two combined to score ICC's first 23 points of the night, helping the Cougs to a huge 23-4 lead about four and a half minutes inside the start of the game. Most of the damage the duo did was on a series of backdoor cuts that resulted in layups. For the night, the Cougars dominated the post with 44 points in the paint.
Stefka led ICC with 17 points, while McCandlis followed close with 16 on the evening.
Melbourne's (6-3, 2-1) Jesse Jenkins broke up this Cougar outburst with a 3-ball at the 3:45 mark of the first period, but the Bearkatz were looking at a 23-7 deficit at that point. Jenkins had another huge outing, blasting in six treys on his way to a game-high 20 points.
Melbourne's Michael Lunsford (17 points) hit a bucket and added a 3-pointer of his own near the end of the first, but ICC's Ethan Porter (four points) was fouled while shooting a trey just before the horn. Porter knocked down all three charity shots to give the Cougs a 34-14 advantage after one.
The Katz kept firing away from beyond the arc in the second period, draining four triples in the frame, but the Cougars refused to let off the gas and kept building on their lead.
Adam Montgomery kicked in six of his 10 points for the night in the second, giving the Cougars a 50-31 lead at intermission.
By the end of the third period, with the Cougars comfortably in front 68-41, the gulf was just too wide for Melbourne to cross, and ICC finished the evening with a 77-52 victory.
Scott Small tallied 12 points for ICC, with Curtis Clark adding seven. Kevin Miller had four points, while James Morgan logged three. Steven Walker and Colton Selph finished with two points each for the Cougars.
Adam Jones hit for seven points for Melbourne, with Tyler Wommack, Kyle Taylor, Michael Brown and Logan Holladay adding two points apiece.
Despite hitting just one field goal in the last period of play, the Lady Bearkatz managed to put away the hosts from ICC.
A 10-for-10 showing from the charity stripe over the course of the final frame provided the dash for Melbourne, while Olivia Morris posted 17 of her game-high 24 points in the second half, with 13 coming in the third period alone. Morris also grabbed 10 boards for the Lady Katz.
The first half was a grind-it-out affair, with both sides combining to score just 36 points in the game's first 16 minutes of play. By contrast, Melbourne's 38-point output in the second half topped that, as things loosened up a bit.
The Lady Cougars took the lead early in the second period and held it until the Lady Katz made their move midway into the third period.
A 3-bomb from Autumn Henry (13 points) at the 3:52 point of the third pushed Melbourne on top, 26-24, for the first time in the half.
Then it was Morris time.
In a span of 2:47, Morris went wild and hit 11 straight points for the Lady Bearkatz, pushing Melbourne on top 40-32 after three.
Henry opened the fourth with another trey, but that would be Melbourne's last field goal of the night.
ICC fought back with five straight points, including a trey from Keresa Campbell, cutting Melbourne's lead to 43-37 with 2:40 left to play.
That also turned out to be as close as the Lady Cougars could get.
ICC was whistled for having six players on the court, resulting in the first of the Lady Katz' 10 free throws in the last 2:25 of the game, as Melbourne kept the lead for good, winning 54-41.
The first half was slowing going by the second half's standards.
Kaylee Cooper (four points) opened the game with a jumper for ICC, while Codi Wommack canned a triple for the Lady Bearkatz' first points of the game.
Melbourne led 6-4 after one, but ICC quickly regrouped to hold the lead for most of the second period.
Melissa Martin came to life early in the second, ripping off six straight points to give ICC a 10-6 lead. Martin paced the Lady Cougars with 16 points for the game.
Sarah Taylor (three points) and Brittany Bailey hit back-to-back buckets late in the frame to build ICC's advantage to 20-8 before Melbourne flashed a glimpse of what was to come in the third.
Abby Cooper (six points, nine rebounds) started an 8-0 run to end the frame with a jumper, pulling Melbourne within four, 20-16 at the break.
Tori Rush finished with six points for the Lady Bearkatz.
Leathyr Spangler logged six points for ICC. Trace Grinnell and Haley Crotts posted two points each for the Lady Cougars, while Lane Norvold added one point.