The Carrier Mills-Stonefort Wildcats may be the only class 1A school in southern Illinois to open their season up against a class 3A team.
Tournament newcomers, the Massac County Patriots began the initial game of the Vienna Classic Tournament Monday, winning 72-37. Despite the Wildcats youth and inexperience, the Patriots 35-point spread didn't come without a fight.
After going 19-11 last season, the Wildcats graduated three starters, Gabe Morgan, Collin Crimm and Jordan Walker, who had a lot of points, height and varsity experience between them.
Even with the return of 5-foot-9 guard Josh Bailey, who led the team with 16 points and 6-foot-2 forward Cameron Taborn, this is a young team who looks to use Monday nights loss as a learning experience for the lengthy road ahead.
"We knew it would be a tough game going in, but I think this loss will pay off for us in the long run," Carrier Mills-Stonefort head coach Mark Motsinger said. "Our younger guys need to go up against this kind of competition, but I'm pleased to see that it didn't break their spirits because they fought the whole way through."
Massac County guards Dalton Mitchell and Dazmeon Nickerson opened up the game with a pair of 3-pointers, while 5-9 junior Dalton Huckleberry answering back for the Wildcats with a three of his own.
At the end of the first quarter the Wildcats came as close to they would to the Patriots, trailing by only four points.
However, with height and speed on their side, Massac County took off in the second quarter and left the Wildcats behind 31-13 before half time.
Taborn, the Wildcats' tallest player, was held to only two points as the Patriots' height in the paint proved dominate, getting stick-back after stick-back.
"We have a lot to work on, but Coach Motsinger always puts together a good team and tonight it was evident that we just have a lot more kids to choose from and run in and out," Massac County coach Joe Hosman said. "Their kids really hustle though, and I think my guys would tell you that the final score was hard fought."
Slayden Figg, the Wildcat's 5-9 sophomore guard, scored all of his nine points in the third quarter but couldn't help his team hang on with a 54-31 score at the end of the third quarter.
The Wildcats had a lot of trouble getting their shots to fall scoring only six points to the Patriots 18 in the fourth quarter.
"This may be one of the better teams in the River-to River Conference," Motsinger said. "We fought the whole way through and intend to do so all season long."
Century 81 Eldorado 70
In the tournament's nightcap senior guard Cordon Hight led the Centurions to victory with 21 points.
Page 2 of 2 - As the Eldorado Eagles fell in their first game of the season, 5-10 senior guard Joel Boulds led the Eagles with 20 points, with 5-10 junior guard Tyler Deaton pitching in 12 points as well.
Richard Graceffa scored 11 points and Dillon Street added eight points. Brennan Unthank tacked on seven, while Justin Wiseman, Dylan Lawrence had three points, while Dylan Roberts, Andy Pena and Derek Mitchell all had two points.
The Eagles will play Saline County rival Carrier Mills-Stonefort tomorrow night at 7p.m in the second game of the night.
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