The sixth- and seventh-grade Hoopster tournament continued to whittle down the opponents on Feb. 6 when the Horned Frogs and Wildcats faced off at the East Lawrence Center. Despite a subdued crowd, the Frogs kept the energy of the game high to take the win, 53-46.
"We played good offense and defense," Horned Frog Matt Wade said. "We did well."
After tip off, both the Frogs and Cats kept the ball hot, moving up and down the court. However, no one managed to rack up any points until Wade hit a free throw.
Three minutes into the quarter Austin Hoag sunk a three-pointer for the Horned Frogs. Continuing the red-hot streak, Jake Vinoverski snaked through a group of Wildcats to layup another for the Frogs.
The Wildcats landed their first shortly before the end of the first, with Garret Wagner following up with another bucket. The Cats managed to lay up one more before the end of the period to make it 14-6 Frogs.
Looking to close the gap, Wagner hit a buck to bring the Cars within six. However the Horned Frogs managed to keep the pressure on when Hoag sunk his second free throw of the night.
Jackie Garcia responded with her own charity bucket for the Wildcats, but Wade landed a three-pointer on the ensuing Frog possession, maintaing the comfortable lead.
Rudy Hilliard assisted Wagner for two, and the Wildcats got fired up and took control of the boards. The surge was short lived as the Horned Frogs managed to take the ball and control of the game back into its hands.
Wade continued to dominate the hoop in the third, responding to the quarter's opening shot by Hilliard. The two teams spent a while running in place, neither team breaking the seven-point gap to its advantage.
The Wildcats managed to close the gap to five, but the small victory was short lived as Wade hammered home his second three-pointer, and the fourth for the team.
Coming into the fourth, the Cats looked to pounce, becoming more aggressive with the ball. Hilliard managed to steal the ball and take it full court, but lost control shortly before he managed to fire a shot off. The Wildcats managed to take control of the tempo of the game, but simply couldn't pull the scoring together.
As the game wound down, the players wound up with the whistle shrilly blowing every few seconds for fouls on both sides. Wade closed out the game, dishing the assist to Kansas Sky Fiori-Brown, getting a rebound of his own and sinking the free throw. After sinking two threes in the victory Hoag was pleased with the performance.
"We did really well on the rebounding," he said. "We weren't selfish either. We really shared the ball."
Horned Frog Molly Morgan was also pleased with the results of her team.
"The best part of the game for her was making a layup," she said.
The Wildcats juggernaut, Hilliard, was quiet about the loss, but not disappointed.
"We made great layups," he said. "And, we managed to hit most of our free-throws."
Coach Craig Butler said his team racked up the most points they have all season, so he couldn't have asked for a better game. "They were cohesive in the game," he said. "We have definitely improved. Both as a team and individually."