Cats end season in regional
loss to Tipton Tigers, 80-65
By Nicole Brown
The Durant Wildcats fell to the Tipton Tigers on Feb. 13 at Tipton 80-65 in the first round of regional action. Durant fell to Tipton for the third time this season.
Tipton led the scoring at the end of the first quarter 17-15. In the second quarter Tipton again outscored Durant 21-19 to go into the locker room at half with a 38-34 lead.
In the third quarter Tipton gained an even larger lead, outscoring the Wildcats 22-16 for a 10-point lead, 60-50. In the fourth quarter, the Tigers held their lead, outscoring Durant 20-15 and winning by 15 points, 80-65.
“I didn’t think we were necessarily slow offensively in the second half,” said Coach Matt Straube. “I just think the biggest thing is that little bit of separation caused us to get a little behind.”
Senior Bryce Lafrenz and Junior Joe Lilienthal both led the Wildcats in scoring with 15 points each. Junior Drew Delong had 13 points, senior Easton Botkins followed closely behind with 12, junior Marcus Engstler scored six, and seniors Mason Compton and Zac Badtram both had two.
Lafrenz and Botkins both felt the game was very fast-paced.
“We could have been better,” said Lafrenz. “It took us probably three quarters to find our full intensity. That’s something we needed to find early to set the tone, and we just didn’t find it.”
One key point of the game was when the Tigers hit a half-court shot to end the third quarter.
“It was a weird vibe. There was no game before,” Compton said. “After the half-court shot they just kind of took off.”
Compton was one of three main starters the Wildcats will lose to graduation. Botkins and Lafrenz are the other two.
“It was bad. I mean we should have beat them, and we lost three times to them,” said Compton. “We lost by one point twice and then a lot. We just played bad, and it was embarrassing.”
Lilienthal led the team in rebounds with five. Compton, Delong, and Lilienthal all led with four assists, Engstler and Lafrenz led in steals with two each, and Lilienthal also had one block.
“You know we just lost seven seniors,” Coach Straube said. “It’s going to hurt. Easton, Mason, and Bryce being three main starters. We lose a lot of factors there. We have a lot we’re going to have to replace.”