The Enterprise Wildcats and Lady Cats got the area portion of the 2020 schedule jumpstarted last week with a pair of matchups against Class 7A, Area 3 rivals Jeff Davis and R.E. Lee.

On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Wildcats traveled to Montgomery and took home a frustrating 70-65 loss to the Volunteers.

Enterprise and Jeff Davis slugged it out all game but the Wildcats managed to hold a 22-18 lead after the first period. The Vols owned the second quarter, however, outscoring Enterprise 24-10 and taking a 42-32 lead into the half.

The Wildcats came roaring back in the third quarter and managed to cut the Vol lead to 54-51 heading into the final period.

The two sides went back-and-forth in the final period but a pair of late buckets managed to give Jeff Davis the edge and the 70-65 win.

Senior Dallas Howell came up big for the Wildcats with 26 points – including 6-of-9 from the three-point line – along with six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.

Sophomore Quentin Hayes had a big night, too, with 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Junior Josh McCray added eight points with four rebounds and three assists.

The Lady Cats also fell to Jeff Davis 37-29 on Jan. 7. Dashia Nelson and Harmony Baker led the Lady Cats with seven points each, while Nicole Higgins chipped in with six points.

Enterprise followed up with a tough matchup against R.E. Lee on Friday, Jan. 10, with both the Wildcats and Lady Cats coming away with close losses.

The Wildcats not only hung tough with Class 7A’s No. 2-ranked Generals but led in the game multiple times.

After both sides struggled to score in the first quarter, Lee took a 13-8 lead into the second period. The Generals then went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to stretch the lead out to 20-8 only for Enterprise to come storming back with an 8-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 20-16.

After Enterprise hit a free throw, Lee took a 23-17 lead following a three-pointer with just over a minute remaining. Enterprise’s McCray then responded with a three of his own with just 50 seconds left to cut the lead to 23-20. Lee would take that slim lead into halftime.

“We were sluggish, like we were tired out there,” Enterprise coach Rhett Harrelson said after the game. “If you would have told me that we would have come out like that and start like that in a big area home game – in terms of our energy and effort – I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m really frustrated with our effort tonight.”

In the third quarter, a fired up Enterprise jumped out on a 8-2 run to take the Wildcats’ first lead of the game 28-25 with 5:08 left in the third quarter.

The two sides would continue to battle back and forth with five different lead changes in the third quarter. Eventually, Lee was able to take a 36-30 lead into the final period.

The Wildcats weren’t ready to call it quits, however, and continued to trade blows with the Generals. With 1:41 left in the game, Hayes knocked down a layup to cut Lee’s lead to 46-43, but the Generals converted on four free throw attempts, while Enterprise missed all four of its final shot attempts as Lee held on to the 50-43 win.

Enterprise struggled to score all game – hitting just 18-of-47 shot attempts – and were outrebounded 32-24 with 21 turnovers in the loss. However, Enterprise held Lee to its lowest point total of the season and well below the Generals’ 70-point-per-game average.

Harrelson said he isn’t concerned with the missed shots because those will eventually come.

“If you take good shots and you keep working at it they’re eventually going to fall,” he said. “You just have to keep taking good shots. I tell them all the time that the ball finds energy and good things happen for guys that play hard on both ends of the floor.

“I’m not concerned with our shots You have to be able to win games when you’re not hitting shots. (Lee) did that. They didn’t hit a single three-pointer all night but still found a way to win.”

Enterprise was led by Hayes with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, four steals and three blocks. McCray added 10 points with four rebounds, two assist and two steals.

Howell grabbed 12 rebounds for Enterprise along with scoring six points, dishing two assists, snatching three steals and blocking two shots.

Junior Jared Smith added eight points and two assists.

Harrelson emphasized that his team has to do a better job of working hard in practice, especially at the little things.

“Every single guy in that locker room wants to win and play well, but I think we want it to be easy,” Harrelson said. “We want things to be easy out there and things that are worth having don’t come easy.

“You have to work at the little things in practice. Penetration and pitch, ball rips – you have to have violent ball rips, you have to sit on two feet (on defense) and you have to (practice) in game speed. You can’t go through the motions. We’ll continue to have games like this if we just keep going through the motions (in practice).”

The Lady Cats also fell to the Lady Generals by a score of 43-38 on Jan. 10.

Enterprise and Lee played close for the entirety of the first half and the score knotted up 13-13 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Enterprise outscored the Generals 15-8 and with one second left in the period McClain knocked down a layup to stretch the Lady Cat lead to 28-21.

The fourth quarter, however, was owned by Lee as the Lady Generals outscored Enterprise 22-10 to come away with the 43-38 win.

Enterprise was led by McClain with 25 points, five rebounds and three steals, while Nelson added 11 points and four steals.

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