By Justin Rains
Corsicana Daily Sun
BETHEL — The battle for supremacy in District 18-A, Division I lived up to the hype, thanks to a big fourth-quarter from Kerens.
But, in the end, the sixth-ranked Cayuga boys’ basketball team held off the ninth-ranked Bobcats for a 65-58 win.
But, even in victory, CHS coach Greg Jenkins wasn’t happy.
“Give them credit for the things they did, but we lost our composure there at the end,” Jenkins said. “We executed the gameplan for about three-and-a-half quarters…nothing we talked about doing…we just didn’t get it done.”
That victory moves Cayuga to 18-6 overall and a perfect 4-0 in district play.
While the matchup lived up to the top-10 matchup hype, it almost didn’t.
Cayuga led by 17 heading into the fourth quarter, and extended the lead to 21 at one point.
Then, however, the wheels began to tremble a bit.
Senior forward Deon Shofner picked up his fourth foul, which forced Jenkins to remove him from the game. From there, Kerens began to chip away.
The comeback was never dramatic, but instead steady. With just under a minute to play, Kerens sophomore Nate Betts him a put-back off of a Tobyus Thomas miss to cut the Cayuga lead to 62-53, the first time the Bobcats had been within single-digits since the first half.
Then, after some Cayuga missed free throws, Kevin Townsel made a lay-up to cut the lead to 62-55. Kerens got to within five with 21 seconds remaining on an acrobatic lay-up from Townsel after two missed free throws from Cayuga’s Chandler Rigdon.
Ridgon redeemed himself the next possession, making one-of-two freebies to extend Cayuga’s lead to 63-57, and Kerens would only get back to within five on a free throw from Townsel.
Cayuga star Preston Anderson hit two free throws to ice the game with five seconds remaining.
The Wildcats cruised for three quarters, making the contest against the ninth-ranked Bobcats look like it wouldn’t be much of a contest.
The Wildcats scored 18 points in the first quarter, almost equaling the 19 points that Kerens scored in the first half.
The Wildcats held a 17-point advantage at the half, an edge that they held on to throughout the third quarter.
Preston Anderson led Cayuga with 25 points, despite an off-night shooting. Anderson shot a respectable 50 percent from two-point range, but was 3-of-10 from behind the arc.
He finished with seven rebounds and five blocks.
Despite foul trouble — he fouled out late in the fourth quarter — Shofner finished with 19 points and six rebounds. Chandler Rigdon had nine points for Cayuga.
Betts had 25 to lead Kerens, and also finished with a game-high 15 rebound, while Thomas had 15 and nine rebounds. Townsel added seven.
Cayuga (18-6, 4-0) travels to Dawson Friday to end the first round of district play.
Cayuga 65, Kerens 58
Kerens 10 9 16 23 — 58
Cayuga 18 18 16 13 — 65
Kerens — Tobyus Thomas 15, Kevin Townsel 7, Demetris Sayles 3, Nate Betts 25, Daedrion Tolliver 4, Taylon Modester 4.
Cayuga — D.Jackson 4, C. Rigdon 11, K. Jackson 2, W. Rigdon 6, Shofner
19, Anderson 23
Records — Kerens 14-6, 3-1 in 18-1A DI; Cayuga 18-6, 4-0.
H.S. GIRLS BASKETBALL
Kerens 63, CAYUGA 40
The state-ranked Kerens girls’ basketball team held Cayuga to four points in the third quarter, turning what had been a close game into a blowout.
After cutting Kerens advantage to only eight heading into halftime, the Ladycats managed only two field goals in the third en route to a 63-40 loss.
The win keeps Kerens perfect in district play at 6-0, while it drops Cayuga to an even 3-3.
Breanna Wells led all scorers with 19 points for Kerens, while Cambree Betts had 13 and Marqueshia Kelly had 10.
Madison Spears was the lone Cayuga player in double-figures with 10. Kylee Cross added eight and Madyson Gunnels six in the loss.
Kerens 63, Cayuga 40
Kerens 13 18 16 16 — 63
Cayuga 13 10 4 13 — 40
Kerens — Cambree Betts 13, Marqueshia Kelly 10, Kiara Lindsey 5, Taylor Ames 11, Breanna Wells 19, Tanesha Tolliver 4.
Cayuga — Spears 12, Luce 2, Cross 8, Griffey 4, Knox 1, Anderson 6, Gunnells 7.
Records — Kerens 21-4, 6-0 in 18-1A DI; Cayuga 14-10, 3-3.