Wildcats open district hoops action

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Payton Kennedy and Javier Neal sparked a second-quarter rally that put Whitehouse firmly ahead after a close first quarter in a game at Ennis Friday, Jan. 12.

The Wildcats were able to hold on to the lead and post a 73-55 victory over the Lions to open District 17-5A competition.

Dikeevian Grimes had a hot hand outside the arc in the opening minutes. He popped the net for a trio of three-point buckets and added a free throw for 10 points to start the game. Martay Richards scored four points for the Lions, who forged a 16-15 edge in the frame.

A trio of Whitehouse players each scored four points in the first minutes of the contest, including Brandon Bullard and Jackson Mahomes, who each hit a pair of field goals. Neal dropped in a pair of free throws and added a field goal for his four points and McKade Marquis and Kennedy contributed to the first-quarter output.

Kennedy and Neal decided to take control of the game in the second frame as each scored six points to spark a 24-14 Whitehouse run. Marquis contributed to the run with a three-pointer and Bullard added four more points, including a pair of free throws. Mahomes also recorded three points and Kolby Jimmerson scored a field goal for two points.

Gordon Gilmore hit a three-point shot and scored five points to pace the Lions in the second stanza.

Whitehouse led 39-30 at the halftime break.

The Wildcats stymied any attempt of a rally by the Lions in the third quarter with a 19-12 run. Jimmerson rattled the rim for a trio of three-point buckets to help keep the Wildcats on top. Mahomes contributed a trio of field goals for six more points and Neal and Kennedy each scored a bucket as well.

AJ Francis tried to spark the Lions in the fourth quarter with seven points that included a three-for-three performance at the charity stripe.

Mahomes, however, would have none of that. He dropped in another three field goals for six points in the final minutes and four other players scored at least one field goal in the period to keep the Wildcats on top of the score.

With his 12-point, second-half production, Mahomes led all scorers with 19 points. Neal, who also scored in each quarter, added 14 points and Jimmerson contributed 13 points on the strength of a trio of three-pointers. Kennedy scored 10, Bullard added eight, Marquis finished with five and Nick Slavinsky scored two points.

Grimes was the leading scorer for Ennis with 13 points, Francis added 10 and Richards and Zion Manuel each scored eight points. Gilmore contributed six points.

Officials whistled the Lions for 11 personal fouls and Whitehouse collected a dozen infractions. At the free throw line, Ennis connected on nine of 14 for 64 percent and Whitehouse scored seven of 11 for 64 percent. No player had more than three personal fouls.

Whitehouse improved to 16-6 for the season and 1-0 in the district standings. Head coach Brent Kelley and the Wildcats were scheduled to host Lindale Tuesday, Jan. 16, and will host Corsicana Friday, Jan. 19. Whitehouse will play at Nacogdoches Tuesday, Jan. 23, and will conclude the first half of the district slate with a home game with Jacksonville Friday, Jan. 26.

WH 15 24 19 15 - 73

EN 16 14 12 13 - 55

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