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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bobcats fend off Wildcats

Monday, March 14, 2011

No matter if you were wearing purple shirts with wild face paint and only had to travel a short 21 miles, or if you had to come over the river and through the woods wearing Kelly green, the Class 2 District 2 championship was on the line March 4.

Its outcome would determine who gets to continue their season in the state tournament and who goes home.

And this time around, it was the gree-wearing Thayer Bobcats whose season would play on.

Thayer knocked off the top-seeded Winona Wildcats 41-28 to earn a shot at the Bernie Mules in the state sectionals March 9 at Poplar Bluff High School.

In the district finals, maybe the longer bus ride had an effect on the Thayer boys squad.

Because the Bobcat team, fans and faithful were all in a full groan, looking at the scoreboard after the first four minutes of the game with only one point showing.

Defense had allowed Winona to pop off a mere six points, but Thayer just could not buy a bucket.

Dylan Dennis got a trip to the charity stripe after being fouled on a flying scoop shot attempt.

Hard work in the weight room by Bobcat senior center Jared Foley, started to become evident as Foley began to win the battle in the blocks with the taller and wider 6-6 Wildcat sophomore center Jeff Smith.

An offensive board and putback from Foley cut into the Wildcat lead of 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Outstanding defense was the name of the game by Ricky Smith and Dennis, who hampered the scoring abilities of Winona's Tanner Voyles and Austin Fisher. Bobcat forward Austin Henry found the touch for a long two and one shot from just outside the arc to pull the Bobcats within two points, 14-12, midway in the second.

Jeremy Cabrales broke into a passing lane for a steal inside the paint, allowing the Bobcats to hold the ball for a last-second shot attempt.

Senior point guard Lucas Risner's shot at the buzzer, bounced off the rim short to end one half of championship play.

The Wildcats only scored two points in the frame, but they still held a 16-14 lead over the Bobcats.

After a breather and adjustments at halftime, the Wildcats and Bobcats picked up the pace.

Winona's Chayse Hollis stroked in a long shot, while Thayer's Smith dropped a couple of pullup jumpers. Henry found a sweet spot to drop in an impossible-to-guard, fade away jump shot late in the third.

Dennis landed two points for the Bobcats at the end of time in the third.

The Bobcats matched their first half points total of 14 in the third quarter, to pull ahead of the Wildcats 28-22.

With only a couple minutes time run off the forth quarter clock, an offensive rebound and put back for two points from Foley added to the Bobcat total.

As the ball was going out of bounds on a rebound, Dennis made an acrobatic one foot in bounds, one foot in the air, out of bounds ball recovery to save possession for the Bobcats.

Henry and Smith lit up the scoreboard with slashing moves to the hoop and lean in lay ups, to lead the Bobcats final scoring drive.

As the final buzzer echoed across the hard wood floor, the Thayer Bobcats celebrated a 41-28 advantage over the Winona Wildcats, to claim the 2011 Class 2 District 2 Championship.

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