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Cats end Cabool Tourney with win over Eagles

Thursday, January 5, 2012

(Photo)
Austin Henry heads to the rim against the Liberty Eagles in Cabool. Photo/Looney [Order this photo]
Sixteen teams were lined up for competition in the 2011 Cabool Holiday Tournament on Dec. 26, 2011.

The second-seeded Thayer Bobcats handily took care of their first round (16th-seeded) opponent, Summersville, with a 65-26 victory.

Second-round action was perhaps the Bobcats' most challenging game to date, as they took on the Class 3 Licking Wildcats, who are ranked fifth in the state.

Even though the defense of both Dylan Dennis and Levi Hargrove was intense, both the Bobcats and Licking had a slow start on the offensive end of the floor.

Thayer held a 16-12 lead at the end of one quarter.

The Bobcats maintained a lead of five points, 31-26, for the halftime break, but that lead slimed in the third, as the Wildcats pulled even at 32 points, with 3:40 remaining in the third.

Turnovers by the Bobcats ended up as Wildcat points, helping to pull Licking ahead 41-37 at the end of three.

Austin Henry drained a couple baskets in the fourth, and Dennis was able to pick up a steal.

The Bobcats could not stop the onslaughtof Licking's 6-5 forward Ben Denbow (27 points), as the Wildcats took a nine-point advantage, 57-48, over the Bobcats at the final buzzer.

The Bobcats were led in scoring point by Henry with 15 points, while Ricky Smith dropped in 10, and Dennis and Jacob Foley had six points each.

Jeremy Cabrales and Hargrove netted five apiece.

On Dec. 28, the Bobcats were matched up with the Gainesville Bulldogs.

And game three, on day three, was a fairly evenly matched affair.

Gainesville jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter, with Thayer netting 8 points to the Bulldogs' 15.

The hustle of Dennis kept the Bobcats in the game, with blocked shots, rebounds and aggressive drives to the hoop.

It took about two-and-a-half minutes into the second frame before Thayer tied the score at 15, but were able to eek out only two more points in the remainder of the half, when both teams headed for the locker room, tied at 17-all.

Thayer picked up nine more points in the third, while holding Gainesville to only four, for a five-point Bobcat lead, 26-21, to close out the third.

Free throw problems plagued the Bobcats in the last eight minutes, but the Thayer defense was able to maintain control of rebounds to come out on top of Gainesville 47-39.

With the consolation plaque on the line, Thayer and the Liberty Eagles squared off on the hardwood Dec. 29.

In a slow-paced game, the Bobcats controlled the boards long enough to hold a 12-4 first-quarter advantage.

Halfway through the second square, the Bobcats managed to score only two, while the Eagles picked up seven points.

With the Cats not able to sink a bucket, coach Matt Pitts called time.

Liberty evened the score at 19-all with a technical foul free throw. Both the Eagles and the Bobcats labored into halftime knotted at 21-all.

In the third quarter, Liberty's halfcourt ball trap was ineffective, as senior point guard Brandon Childers dished off to Dennis.

Smith found some room in the paint and Henry drove the baseline to stretch the Bobcats out for a nine-point, 43-34, third-quarter lead.

Hargrove and Cabrales battled on the inside for defensive rebounds as the Bobcats maintained tempo and the lead, to take home the tournament consolation trophy, with a 57-38 victory over the Liberty Eagles.



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