Duncan falls short at once-beaten Wildcats’ lair

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan’s regular eight-man rotation observed reserves do their stuff during the second half with the Academy of Tucson Lynx, a 94-38 win. Duncan fell Saturday, however, 65-55 to Cibecue.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

CIBECUE – Duncan ventured into the Cibecue Dome for a non-region contest with the Wildcats on Saturday, Dec. 8 and came up short, 65-55.

The Eldon Merrell-coachedWildkats (4-4 overall, 4-0 seeding, 0-0 1A East Region) previously upended the Academy of Tucson Lynx 94-38 in Duncan Dec. 6 while Cibecue (6-1, 2-1, 1-0) fell 78-49 to the Apaches in Fort Thomas on Dec. 7.

Duncan also has wins of 58-23 over the Blue Devils in Elfrida Nov. 26, 83-51 over the Bowie / San SimonCougars in Duncan Nov. 27, and 67-38 over the Hayden Lobos in Winkelman on Dec. 4. The previous losses were suffered during the New Mexico Cliff Roundup, 86-49 to the Mexico Academia Juarez Lobos on Nov. 29, 60-56 to the host Cowboys Nov. 30, and 52-48 to the Cimarron Rams on Dec. 1.

Cibecue topped Hayden 85-43 Nov. 20, Joseph City 74-60 Nov. 27 in seeding games along with California Needles74-54 and El Capitan 54-37 Nov. 29, Williams 51-45 and Flagstaff Basis 1-0 Nov.30, and Ash Fork 57-55 Dec. 1 during the 3-day Williams Route 66 Holiday Classic, before falling at The Fort.

Through their first seven games, the Wildkats have a combined free throw shooting percentage of 54 (75-140) or the same as their opponents, 54 (72-134).

Individually, sophomore Jarrett French has a percentage of 85 (11-13), junior Chris Smith 82 (14-17), senior Wesley Conyer 63 (5-8), junior Cliff Hansen 60 (6-10), sophomore Tommy Hille 51(25-49), junior Lucas Basteen (5-10), sophomore Nathan Kempton (3-6), and senior Jay Garner (1-2) each 50, junior Steven Pierpont 24 (4-17), senior Michael Lemmon 17 (1-6), and Austin Bigler 0-2.

Senior Weston Skinner plus freshmen Conlon Jensen and Gabriel Roybal have not attempted any free throws.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Wesley Conyer takes a high-percentage shot.

Wildkats – 94, Lynx – 38

The outmanned visitors outscored the Wildkats 22-19 in the second half. However, outings of 33-16 in the opening period plus 42-0 in the second period by the regular eight-man rotation gave Duncan a 73-16 halftime advantage.

“I brought up some playersfor this game,” Merrell said. Each of the 14 players suited up for the Scarletand Gray contributed to the scoring total. The final three points, added by Skinner for a 94-30 advantage with 6:33 left to play, caused the bench to leap in celebration for him. A technical foul was assessed on a player whose momentum carried him onto the court. The Lynx went on an 8-0 run to end the game.

Bigler added six points, Kempton and Roybal four each, and both Garner and Jensen three apiece.

The Wildcats totaled 39 field goals (five 3-pointers) plus 9-16 free throws versus 14 field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 6-11 free throws by the Lynx.

Duncan’s first-half scoring was 18 points by Smith on eight field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 1-1 free throw, 13 by Hille on six field goals plus 1-1 free throw, and 12 by Lemmon on five field goals (two 3-pointers). Pierpont added eight points, French seven, Conyersix, Hansen four, and Basteen three.

For the Lynx, senior Devion Makres tossed in a game-high 31 points on 11 field goals (four 3-pointers) plus5-7 free throws. Sophomore Ian Webb added four points, sophomore Mohammed Khantwo, and freshman Brandon Carr one.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan junior Steven Pierpont draws a foul while attempting a shot.

Wildkats – 67, Lobos – 38

The visiting Wildkats led 18-6 following the opening period, 30-20 at halftime, and 53-29 at the start of the fourth period.

Duncan tallied 24 field goals (seven 3-pointers) plus 11-25 free throws versus 13 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 9-18 free throws by Hayden.

Nine Wildkats scored with two in double figures. Lemmon got 16 points on six field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 1-2 free throws and Hille 11 on four field goals plus 3-7 free throws. French added eight points, Conyer and Smith seven each, Hansen six, Basteen two, and Kempton one.

Hayden got 13 points from H.J.Castillo on four field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 4-7 free throws. Adrian Estrada added eight points, Bobby Manriquez seven, and both Gibby Carmelo and Manny Guillea five apiece.

Rams – 52, Wildkats – 48 (Cliff, NM)

Despite a 12-8 final period outing against Cimarron, Duncan fell by four points after trailing 44-36 at the start of the final eight minutes. The Rams led 27-25 at halftime and theWildkats had a 9-8 opening period edge.

Hille and Lemmon both chipped in 11 points. Pierpont and Smith added eight points apiece, Hansen four, and both Basteen and French three each.

Morgan Seed had 24 points and Matt Dean 13 for Cimarron. Four other Rams also scored.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan’s Austin Bigler of Duncan (RIGHT) battles for rebounding position against Devion Makres from the Academy of Tucson. The Lynx senior had a game-high 31 points while Bigler added six for Duncan.

Cowboys – 60, Wildkats – 56 (Cliff, NM)

Game two against the host Cowboys had a combined 76 free throws taken, 20-37 by Duncan and 16-39 by Cliff.

Duncan led 43-37 heading into the final eight minutes, but the Cowboys turned in a 23-13 fourth-period outing to win by four. Cliff led 29-24 at halftime and 17-12 following the opening period.

Hille and Pierpont both netted double-digit scoring with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Conyer and Smith added eight points apiece, French seven, Basteen four, Hansen three, and Lemmon two.

Three of seven Cowboys scoring were in double figures with 16, 12, and 11 points.

Lobos – 86, Wildkats – 49 (Cliff, NM)

Duncan trailed by 14 points, 26-12, after the opening period; by 17, 42-25, at halftime; and by 30, 66-36, at the start of the fourth period.

Hille, Pierpont, and Smith netted 10 points apiece. Lemmon added seven points, French six, Conyer five, and Basteen one.

For Academia Juarez, Jamison Jones and Sebastian Parson had 18 points each, Bert Whetten 16, Mark Romney 13, and Andre Alvarez 10. Three other Lobos divided the remaining 13 points.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Game officials discuss some observations during a break in the action.

Wildkats – 83, Cougars – 51

Duncan was two points shy of doubling the score on the Cougars, leading 34-17 at halftime, with a 32-17 outing during the third period. Seven different Wildkats combined for 12 field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 4-4 free throws.

The Wildkats totaled 34 field goals (seven 3-pointers) plus 8-11 free throws versus 17 field goals (seven3-pointers) plus 10-20 free throws by the Cougars.

Individually, Smith had 19 points on seven field goals (five 3-pointers), Hille 17 on seven field goals plus 3-4 free throws, and Pierpont 17 on eight field goals plus 1-2 free throws. Hansen added eight points, French seven, Basteen six, Lemmon four, Conyerthree, and Jensen two.

Three of six Cougars contributed double-digit scoring.

Wildkats – 58, Blue Devils – 23

The visiting Wildkats had double-digit scoring during each of the periods compared to single digits for each by the hosts. A 20-point advantage, 39-19, was on the guest side of the scoreboard at the start of the final period. Duncan led 22-13 at halftime and 12-4 following the opening period

Duncan totaled 18 field goals (five 3-pointers) plus 17-28 free throws versus four field goals plus 15-21 free throws by Valley Union.

Smith netted 14 points on three 3-pointers plus 5-5 free throws. Pierpont added nine points, Conyer and Lemmon eight apiece, Hille seven, Basteen four, French and Hansen three each, and Kempton two.

Six Blue Devils scored but none in double figures.

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