Wildcats take three out of five in weekend tournament

By Greg Perkins

Playing in the Route 66 Tournament held over the weekend, the Wildcats posted a 3-2 overall mark with wins over Grand Canyon, El Capitan and Ash Fork along with losses to Needles and Chino Valley.

The Cats opened tourney play on Thursday in fine form with a 42-22 win over Grand Canyon.  Joseph City built a 30-13 halftime lead then limited the Phantoms to just nine second half points in the win.

Matt Fields led the Wildcats in scoring with 19 points to go along with eight rebounds. Latrelle Kinlicheenie added 10 with four assists.

Their second game on Thursday was more of an offensive output with Joseph City prevailing 70-56 over El Capitan. Both teams scored well in the first combining for 40 points with 20 on each side. The Wildcats kept up the scoring with 17 more in the second to lead by four at the break. In the third, Joseph City outscored the Eagles by seven then again by three in the final stanza to get the 14-point win. Fields had a big game with 28 points and nine boards. Kinlicheenie added 17, and Jacobson Begay reached double figures with 10.

Joseph City faced Needles on Friday and struggled against the Mustangs in the middle of the game. They were outscored 46 to 21 in the second and third periods putting them in a hole they couldn’t escape in the 68-37 loss.

Kinlicheenie led with 9 points followed by Carlos Sanchez who netted 8.

Later in the day the Wildcats bounced back with a 45-33 win over Ash Fork. Fields returned to his scoring ways with 16 points and Kinlicheenie netted 12 in the win.

The Wildcats final game of the tournament was a hard fought three-point loss to Chino Valley on Saturday. The Cougars opened up a double-digit lead after the first, then the Wildcats spent the rest of the game playing from behind. They won the final three periods by eight total points, but just couldn’t completely wipeout the first period deficit.  Kinlicheenie had the hot hand in this game netting 27 points, which included six three-point field goals. Matt Fields added 10 points and eight boards.

Prior to the tournament the Wildcats lost a tough regular season game to Round Valley on Tuesday of last week. The Elks outscored the Wildcats by four points in the final quarter to win the game 65-62 in the dome. Fields had a huge game with 28 points and 18 rebounds. Seth Hutchens added 13 and Jacobson Begay finished with 11.

Joseph City headed into this week with a 4-3 overall record. After hosting Williams on Tuesday they will have a week off to prepare to host St. Michael on Dec. 12.