Wildcats overpower Cubs in substate play

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Yates Center High’s Brent Matile (5) launches a shot over the outstretched arms of Humboldt High defender Thad Wells (32) Monday. Matile scored 15 points in the Wildcats’ 72-48 victory in Class 2A substate play.

YATES CENTER — Yates Center High head coach Jeff Jones conceded Monday that employing a press isn’t always in his team’s best interest.
“We got a quick turnover to start the game, but we also led to them getting some pretty quick baskets,” Jones said.
But the press against Humboldt High accomplished its goal in another sense, setting a frenetic pace that played right into the Wildcats’ hands.
“We really got where we were taking some quick shots,” Humboldt head coach David Taylor said. “Yates Center likes to play at that tempo. We were trying for the exact opposite.
“They were just a lot better at doing what they wanted to do,” Taylor said.
The Wildcats tore up the scoreboard to the tune of 46 first-half points for a 72-48 win in the first round of the Class 2A Substate playoffs.
The win pushes the Wildcats, 16-5, into the substate semifinals Thursday. They take on substate host Northeast-Arma, which defeated Pleasanton 60-54.
The semifinal tips off at 6 p.m. at Northeast High in Arma. Pittsburg St. Mary’s Colgan plays Oswego in the other semifinal.
The 2A substate championship game is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Arma.
Although Yates Center is the top seed, and Northeast is seeded fifth, the Wildcats will play at Arma, because Northeast is the host school for substate play.
“Northeast has a lot of talent,” Jones said. “I know they’re definitely not the fifth-best team in this substate.”
Against Humboldt, both teams were shooting well at the start. Yates Center led 17-13 before the Wildcats’ Brent Matile drained a three-pointer shortly before the first-quarter buzzer to push the margin to seven.
The shot kick-started a 13-2 run that spanned the next three minutes to give the Wildcats a 30-15 lead.
Humboldt bounced back with a 12-2 run of its own, capped by a three-point play by Tevin Strack with 3:59 left in the half.
But the 32-25 deficit was as close as the Cubs could get. While Humboldt’s offense went stale, Yates Center’s kept rolling along. Michael Bettega scored seven points and Matile had five to spark a 14-3 run through the balance of the half to put the game away.
Joe Tressler scored eight points for the Wildcats in the third period, as they extended their 46-28 halftime lead to 66-34 by the end of the period.
A sequence of plays early in the fourth quarter was indicative of Humboldt’s struggles. Tevin Strack snared an errant Wildcat pass to key a 3-on-1 break. But a pass to the wing, then back to Strack was deflected by Yates Center defender Bryson Owens. A jump ball was called in the ensuing scrum to give possession back to the Wildcats.
“We shot well from the outside, and our inside play was solid,” Jones said. “We don’t have a lot of size, but Humboldt’s in the same boat we are, and we did a pretty good job of rebounding. We had a lot of bench guys step up and play well.”
Bettega led the way for the Wildcats with 24 points, followed by Matile with 15 and Tressler with 10. Nine of the 12 Yates Center players who saw action scored.
Humboldt’s season ended with a 2-19 record.
“I have to give credit to the 15 boys who stuck it out this season,” Taylor said. “It’s easy to come to practice when you’re winning. It’s not as easy when the wins aren’t there. But they came to work every day.”
Strack led the Cubs with 15 points, two steals and two assists. Josh Elder followed with 11.
Elijah Friederich pulled down seven rebounds. Tyler Gean had three steals, while Chris Coronado and Elder each had two thefts.
Humboldt (13-15-6-14—48) FG/3-pt): Elder 2/2-1-0-11, Friederich 3-0-1-6, Strack 3/1-6-3-15, Wells 3/1-0-5-9, Gean 1-0-1-2, Nickell 0-0-1-0, Coronado 2-1-0-5. TOTALS: 14/4-8-11-48.
Yates Center (20-26-20-6—72) (FG/3-pt): Bennett 0-0-1-0, Gregg 1-0-1-2, Matile 2/2-5-2-15, Morrison 0-0-1-0, Lenard 2-0-1-4, Bettega 8/2-2-2-24, Stockebrand 2-0-0-4, Hughes 2-1-0-5, Owens 3-0-1-6, Smith 1-0-2-2, Shaffer 0-0-1-0, Tressler 5-0-2-10. TOTALS: 26/4-8-14-72.