Wildcats turn tables on Hermann to claim first win

Wright City's Branden Contreras and Hermann's Tent Anderson (23) react to a foul call during Tuesday's game.
Brandon Corrigan

HERMANN – Hanging in and hanging on.
The Wright City boys basketball team did both Tuesday night to earn its first victory of the campaign, topping host Hermann 56-52.
It was a season-opening loss for the Bearcats, who handed the Wildcats a season-ending loss in last year’s Class 3 District 8 Tournament.
Hermann won the district, finished 22-7 and took down the ‘Cats handily two other times last year, so revenge on the road was a pretty sweet feeling for Wright City.
“This is a tough place to play and Hermann’s a great team,” second-year Coach Ryan Benz said. “They may have lost a few kids, but they’ve still got some playmakers. I’m extremely proud of our effort. Everyone stepped into their role and did what they needed to do.”
One of the things the Wildcats had to do to get the W was make a comeback. They trailed 14-10 after the opening quarter and 29-21 at halftime.
Surviving foul trouble was another. They committed 22 fouls and watched Hermann take 28 shots from the charity stripe, which doubled their own amount.
“But we didn’t lose our heads,” Benz said. “We kept calm in some situations that were a bit frustrating and stayed composed.
“I know we fouled but we made the right decisions and didn’t let it dictate the game. Our hands were really active defensively and we came up with a bunch of steals, even when we went to a zone. We got some deflections and turned those into some points.”
Down 7, junior guard Branden Contreras drilled back-to-back 3-pointers and sophomore forward Hayden Beck scooped up a loose ball and hit a bucket to put the Wildcats ahead 41-40 late in the third. Hermann hit one free throw shot to knot it up, but senior guard Dilllon Seabaugh hit a runner in the paint and 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Kyle Johnson made a layup down low to put Wright City ahead 45-41 at the start of the fourth.
Hermann never saw the lead again but had several chances at a dramatic victory, or at the very least overtime in the closing minutes.
The final opportunity came on a 3-point attempt that would have knotted things up with 10 second remaining by Bearcat junior Holden Ash.
But Ash’s shot never made it to the rim, thanks to a big block by Beck. And senior John Pezold went to line and hit a free throw to seal the deal for the Wildcats.
Wright City improved to 1-1 after falling to Warrenton 69-62 in a season-opening county clash last Friday.
“Our defense was phenomenal tonight,” Benz said. “I think we figured some things out from Warrant ad made some great adjustments.”
Trent Anderson, a 6-5 senior and Hermann’s leading scorer and rebounder from last year, had a team-high 12 points.
Wright City senior forward JJ McRoberts did a great job of slashing his way to the basket and finished with a game-high 17 points. Contreras joined him in double figures with 12 points and added a slew of steals.
Beck had eight points and Seabaugh, Johnson and Christian Ebersohl chipped in with six apiece.
The Wildcats will look to keep the momentum rolling in this Monday’s home-opener when the St. Louis Blue Knights come to town.


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