Nick Buchanan goes up for the shot.

HOULKA – The Houlka Wildcats faced off against the South Pontotoc Cougars for the second time this season, this time, however, the Wildcats were on their home turf so to speak.

However, this would ultimately not make the difference as the Wildcats were unable to pull out the win, falling by a score of 49-27.

The two teams were pretty evenly matched in the first quarter, with it ending tied 9-9 thanks to an inbound layup by senior C.J. Turner.

The second quarter is when the Cougars began to pull away. A big three-point shot by Nemo Flamings brought the score to within three, 15-12, with a little over a minute to go in the half, however, fouls on the other end of the court allowed the Cougars to extend the lead into the half 21-12.

The Wildcats had trouble with fouls, especially late in the second quarter. This is what ultimately allowed the Cougars to pull away, as they were hot from the free throw line all night.

The Wildcats struggled to score all night following the big first quarter where a majority of their points came from.

Seth Winter, the player that the Wildcats turn to for the three-pointers, was contained the whole night by a double team.

This led them to have to find alternative means of scoring, however, the shooting was lacking.

They missed what many would consider simple shots and layups struggled to connect with the rim.

Rebounding was what hurt them the most though. They were not physical and chasing after rebounds, a problem which head coach Seth Burt said will have to be remedied heading into division play next week.

“I think we have got to get tougher,” said Burt. “I think we have got to get a whole lot tougher. We didn't do a very good job tonight getting on the floor, getting after loose balls and that's something we are going to correct next week.”

Looking to the division tournament next week, Burt said that they will have to bring their A-Game if they hope to advance.

“Its going to be a battle next week with Okolona, our first game of the division tournament. We have got to be tougher against them to come out on top.”

All of this taken into account, however, Burt said he is proud of his guys for hanging in there and not giving up.

“I thought our kids played hard, it makes it really difficult when going into this game you already knew you were down two starters, who we lost to knee injuries earlier in the season. Then we had two more out tonight, one with an ankle injury and the one not feeling too well, but I thought our kids that had to play stepped up and did a pretty good job tonight. South Pontotoc does a pretty good job of controlling the tempo and they did a good job of possessing the ball tonight and spreading us out and running the clock off, we just never could get much offense going tonight.”

The Wildcats are set to take on the Okolona Chieftains on Thursday in Houlka.

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