Wildcats triumph in Senior Night battle

The Varsity Boys Basketball Team took on the Parkway North Vikings in their final regular season home game and won 65-52, Feb. 17.

Chris Smith, forward; Adam Harshbarger, guard; Forrest Nettles, forward; Alex McCracken, forward and Michael Wangerin, forward started in their final regular season home game.

The Wildcats starting lineup consisted of every senior on the team, excluding Mason Bendigo, forward, to give players who typically don’t start a chance to start.

“The last four years have just flown by,” Harshbarger said. “It was nice to play with my buddies and get the win.”

The Wildcats led the Vikings 13-10 at the end of the first quarter with Smith and Bendigo combining for 12 of the team’s points.

“We got the ball inside,” Bendigo said. “We had a big height advantage, and we took advantage of that.”

After the Wildcats jumped out to a 22-12 lead in the second quarter, Parkway North went on an 8-0 run to trim the lead to 22-20 at the half.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Bendigo said. “It’s not always about the run but how you bounce back.”

The Wildcats outscored the Vikings 13-11 in the third quarter, extending their lead, ever so slightly, to 35-31.

“We got some of our seniors back out there,” Mr. Craig Kennedy, head coach, said. “Some of those guys are so selfless, and we got the right guys the right shots.”

With 6:16 left in the game, Bendigo had 22 of the team’s 40 points.

“That credit goes to our defense,” Bendigo said. “We held them to a low number of points, but we were also moving the ball really well, which made scoring easier.”

As the Vikings began to draw closer, Conner Walden, guard, scored six straight points to put the Wildcats up, 46-38.

“Conner [Walden] is just a gifted and natural scorer,” Coach Kennedy said. “We had to get scoring from somewhere other than Mason [Bendigo], and Conner came in and did a great job.”

The Wildcats finished the game off with a flourish, scoring 30 points and seven assists in the fourth quarter to round out a 65-52 victory.

“We always preach to them about sharing the ball,” Coach Kennedy said. “Our stats really prove that our preaching worked.”

Bendigo finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds.

“He does so much that we almost take it for granted,” Coach Kennedy said. “We treat it like routine when he goes for 25 and 13.”

Walden contributed to the Wildcats’ fourth quarter outburst, scoring all 12 of his points in the second half.

The Wildcats next game will be at Hazelwood Central, Feb. 19.