Wildcats outlast Silex in fast-paced victory


SOLID RETURN — Wright City senior Dillon Seabaugh scored 16 points in his return for the Wildcats during a 58-50 win over Silex on Friday. He was one of three Wildcats in double figures. Bill Barrett photo.
By: 
Derrick Forsythe
Record Staff Writer

Despite its reluctance to accept any type of charity on Friday, the Wright City boys basketball team managed to escape on the winning side of a 60-53 home shootout against Silex.

The Wildcats had to overcome painful inaccuracy at the free throw line, where they started the game by missing their first 13 attempts.

Thankfully, the persistence of Wright City’s press stifled the Owls in the second half, allowing Coach Ryan Benz’s team to pull away.

“We went after it on the press in the third quarter and started forcing some turnovers,” said Benz. “We were really able to get the pace going and put them in a bind trying to keep up with us.”

A 25-point third quarter helped the Wildcats overcome a challenging start on offense.

“We were going to the basket and rebounding well offensively,” said Benz. “A lot of our points were on second chances and getting buckets off second chances. They would foul us and we’d either only have one shot and miss both free throws.”

At one point the Wildcats were an uncharacteristic one for 15 from the line.

“We had some guys who are decent free-throw shooters missing," said Benz. “It kept compounding on us.”

Still, Wright City trailed just 16-12 after the first quarter, as it began to gain traction due to balanced offense. Branden Contrares was among three Wildcats in double figures, knocking down a pair of threes in the second quarter to provide momentum.

Wright City took a 27-26 advantage into halftime, relying strongly on its effort around the glass.

“Our offensive rebounding was great all night,” said Benz. “We had a little size advantage against them. John Pezold did really well rebounding.”

In the third quarter the Wildcats began to pick apart Silex’s zone defense, exploding for 25 points. Dillon Seabaugh had a solid showing during that stretch, scoring nine of his 17 points.

Wright City applied the press, forcing the tempo of the game to speed up — an invitation Silex was reluctant to accept.

“Sometimes when we go fast, other teams don’t respond well,” said Benz. “We like to get in a hurry. If that means we’re getting teams to rush their shots and ours are going in, I don’t mind picking up the pace.”

The Wildcats led 52-44 going into the final period.

“They didn’t pull out of the 2-3 zone until the end, and we were able to take care of the ball,” said Benz. “We were patient and got good looks. There weren’t a lot of possessions, but the possessions we had we took advantage of.”

Contrares finished with 12 points for the Wildcats, while J.J. McRoberts added 13 points.

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