BRAGGS —The Braggs Wildcats had all summer to think about it.
Think about that state quarterfinal loss to Kinta. And to think about meeting up with the Eagles again early in the 2019 season.
Thursday night was finally the rematch and after a nip-and-tuck three quarters of action, the Wildcats used a 3-pointer by Taten Chape to ignite a 13-0 run to open the final quarter and got their revenge over the defending Class B champs with a 56-42 victory.
The atmosphere was electric as both teams returned a good core of starters from last year’s state qualifying teams — Braggs with four key pieces from their 21-6 squad and Kinta with three starters back.
The Wildcats maintained a small lead through most of the first three quarters until Kinta took its only lead of the game at 34-33 with a minute to play in the third quarter. Braggs scored seconds later to regain the lead. and then the fourth-quarter explosion put Kinta in a must-foul situation to try and catch up. They were never able get closer than nine points in the final four minutes of the game.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve beaten Kinta in basketball, and this game was definitely on our minds to break that streak and get a little revenge,” said Wildcat head coach Jeff Fry. “The fourth quarter was for sure the turning point even though we missed more free throws than I would have liked (13-of-25), so we will be practicing tomorrow which we don’t normally do after a win.”
Kinta (2-2) stayed in the game the first half thanks to the three-point shooting of Thomas Fobber who had four from beyond the arc in the first half but his Eagle-eye let him down in the second half as he went 0-for-9. He finished the game as the leading scorer and only player in double figures for Kinta with 16 points.
Zack Askew paced the offense for the Wildcats (3-0) with a game-high 18 points, but 6-6 Jase King in the middle may have been the difference maker with 16 points and 10 rebounds and a lot of praise from his coach.
“Jase does a lot of things that if you don’t follow basketball you might not notice,” Fry said. “He doesn’t have huge stats but he does a lot of intangible stuff. He’s sees things on the court that we need to adjust and he tells me and we make the change. I trust him that much. We call him the Big Dog and that’s why he’s a team leader even though he’s only a junior.”
In the girls contest, Kinta (2-2) scored the first 20 points of the game and rolled to 56-16 win over the Lady Wildcats (1-2). Sara Ford was the leading scorer for the Lady Eagles with 17 points and Jaclyn Shafler added 14 while Alex Chandler had five points for Braggs.
The Wildcats will be back in action next Tuesday as the entertain Union Christian Academy.