Victories over Mt. Pleasant and Palestine set the Wildcats into a winning mode as they prepare for the annual Wagstaff Classic that will start Thursday, Dec. 28, at Tyler Junior College. The 64th annual classic will start at 9 a.m. but Whitehouse is not scheduled to play until 7 p.m. with North Forney as the opponent.
The Wildcats will next play at Lufkin at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, followed by a game in Pittsburg at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5.
Whitehouse 54, Palestine 28
Javier Neal went ballistic in the first quarter with 11 points, including a five-of-five performance at the free throw line to help push the Whitehouse lead to 18-7 in early action.
Neal yielded to Jackson Mahomes, who took over most of the offense in the final three quarters. Palestine never was able to close the scoring gap and Whitehouse parlayed a 24-13 halftime lead into a 44-19 advantage by the end of the third stanza.
Mahomes was the leading scorer in the game with 18 points and Neal contributed 15 points. Payton Kennedy dropped in a three point bucket and finished with five points, McKade Marquis scored four, Jake Clemons and Kolby Jimmerson each added three points and Cooper Clemons and Nyrese Mayberry recorded two points apiece.
The Wildcats, who were tagged for 14 personal fouls, scored on 13 of 22 for 59 percent at the free throw line. Palestine was called for 16 infractions and hit eight of 14 for 57 percent at the stripe. No player fouled out of the game.
WH 15 9 20 10 - 54
PA 7 6 6 9 - 28
Whitehouse 55, Mt. Pleasant 52
The Wildcats were down by 10 points on the scoreboard, 42-32, at the start of the fourth quarter of the game with Mt. Pleasant. The Tigers never trailed after forging a 19-9 first-quarter lead, and the team appeared to have the victory in hand starting the final frame.
Neal had other plans.
Taking the offense on his shoulders, Neal drained shot after shot to not only help give the Wildcats a chance. When the final buzzer sounded Whitehouse was able to pull out a thrilling 55-52 victory.
Neal scored 16 points in the final minutes, which included scoring fine of nine at the free throw line. Neal drained a three-point bucket and hit four other field goals in the final frame. He finished as the game’s leading scorer with 26 points. Mahomes, who popped in three field goals in the first quarter to help start the offense, finished with 14 points, Marquis rattled the rim for a three-pointer and finished with nine points, Hayden Holley scored three and Jimmerson and Kennedy each scored two points.
Officials whistled Whitehouse for 13 fouls and Mt. Pleasant for 16 personal fouls. No player fouled out. At the free-throw line, Mt. Pleasant scored on six of 10 for 60 percent while Whitehouse tallied 11 of 19 for 58 percent.
For the Tigers, Kevin Savage paced the team with 14 points, Josh McGill added 11 and Christian Himes scored 10 points.
WH 9 16 7 23 - 55
MP 19 10 13 10 - 52