CASSVILLE – As one of the more dangerous teams in the Six Rivers West conference, the Cassville varsity boys’ basketball team proved last Thursday night that they can play with anyone in the league on any given night.
Behind a 24-point performance from senior guard Colton Reynolds, and 19 more from fellow senior Jared Kartman, the Comets handed visiting Shullsburg its first league loss of the season, 56-50.
Against a much taller line-up, the Comets played an aggressive 2-3 zone defense the entire night, but for the most part limited the Miners to just one shot by keeping them off the offensive glass.
On the other end of the floor, Shullsburg matched up man-to-man, and unfazed by the height difference, Cassville attacked the basket with relentless penetration off dribble drives.
“Colton really controlled the game for us,” said Cassville coach Jacob Bernetzke. “He kept us in our offense and attacked when he had chances. Jared had the best game of his career so far,” Bernetzke added.
After one half of play, the Miners held a slim lead of 22-20, and in the early portions of the second half, Cassville hung around to make the game interesting.
With around five minutes to play in the contest, Cassville took a 43-42 lead, and from that point on outscored the Miners, 13-8, doing most of their damage from the free throw line.
In the final four minutes, Cassville made 11-of-14 free throw attempts, and senior Colton Reynolds was 8-of-10 and had 10 of his game-high 24 points down the stretch run.
Also in the final four minutes, Shullsburg had two turnovers and was 3-of-7 from the field, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range.
Cassville held a lead of 51-42 with 50 seconds to play, after Kartman made one-of-two free throw attempts.
Shullsburg answered with a two-point field goal off an offensive rebound, and sent Colton Reynolds to the line, where he made both ends of a double bonus.
A 3-point attempt by Shullsburg was then rebounded by Reynolds, who was sent to the line and again made both free throws, giving his team a 55-44 lead with 20.8 seconds to play.
Shullsburg’s Hunter Matye made two 3-pointers in the final seconds, while Reynolds added another free throw, leaving the margin of victory at six points.
“We played fantastic on the defensive end, and it was the best team communication and overall teamwork that we’ve had all year,” coach Bernetzke said. “And then of course we closed it out at the free throw line to seal the win.”
As a team, the Comets made 17-of-33 (52%) shot attempts, including 2-of-10 (20%) from 3-point range. They were 20-of-27 (74%) from the free throw line, committed 13 turnovers and came away with 10 team steals.
Reynolds also led the team in rebounds (10) and assists (3), while Dylan Johll pulled down five boards, and Kartman and Mason Infield each had four steals.
This Friday night, the Comets (3-3, 6-7) will host Benton (1-4, 2-9), then are off until next Thursday night when they host Potosi.
Cassville 56, Shullsburg 50
(from Thursday, Jan. 14)
Shullsburg 22 28 - 50
Cassville 20 36 - 56
Shullsburg - Lance Lierman 6, Huter Matye 18, Noah Wand 11, Nathan Wedige 2, Joseph Meyer 11, Cameron Doyle 2. Totals - 19 6-12 50.
Cassville - Dylan Johll 7, Christian Reynolds 3, Walker Gotzinger 3, Colton Reynolds 24, Jared Kartman 19. Totals - 17 20-27 56.
3-point goals - S: Matye 3, Wand 3; C: Gotzinger 1, Kartman 1. Team fouls - S 20, C 13. Fouled out - Doyle (S).