The Enterprise Wildcats and Lady Cats basketball teams closed up the regular season portion of the 2020 schedule with a tough slate of games as both now set their sights on the upcoming area tournament.
The week kicked off with a tough road game against Eufaula on Jan. 28. The Wildcats came away with a 75-63 loss, while the Lady Cats fell 64-53.
Senior Dallas Howell led the Wildcats with 21 points in the loss, while junior Josh McCray added 11 points and sophomore Quentin Hayes chipped in with 10 points.
“We went to a good Eufaula team and I thought we did some really good things in that game,” Enterprise coach Rhett Harrelson said. “We showed signs of battling back after getting down early and kept fighting and were able to cut the lead to four with a minute left.”
Leading the way for the Lady Cats was senior Lay Lay McClain with 28 points.
On Jan. 30, the Lady Cats bounced back to close out the regular season with a dominating 72-18 win over Barbour County on Senior Night.
McClain was Enterprise’s leader again with 20 points, while sophomore Jaida Gosha scored 15 points and Serrenity Page added 12 points.
The Wildcats also had a big night on Senior Night as they picked up a 64-54 win over Barbour County following a giant fourth quarter.
With Enterprise trailing Barbour County 38-37 heading into the final period, the Wildcats exploded to outscore the Jaguars 27-17 to secure the victory.
“We did some really good things against Barbour County, too,” Harrelson said. “There was really nothing pretty about that game – it was sloppy – but we still found a way to win. I thought we gutted that one out.”
McCray had a big night with 20 points and five rebounds with four steals, while Hayes chipped in with 14 points, seven assists and three steals. Dominic York scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Enterprise scored 20 points off turnovers in the win and shot 17-of-30 from the field.
The Wildcats closed out the regular season with a home matchup with Greenville on Jan. 31 and fell 68-57.
After the two sides battled to a 15-15 tie in the first quarter, Enterprise pulled away to a 31-28 lead at halftime.
Greenville, however, dominated the second half and outscored Enterprise 40-26 in the half to take the 68-57 win.
The Wildcats struggled from the field, shooting 34.8 percent, and were outrebounded 43-38.
“I think we just ran out of gas,” Harrelson said. “We would have like to finish out the regular season with a win but I did think we saw some good things throughout that week.”
Despite taking a finger to the eye in the loss, McCray led Enterprise with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Hayes scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds with four assists. Freshman Mykal Johnson scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds with four steals.
Enterprise had to play those final two games without Howell after the all-state senior suffered a hip flexor strain against Eufaula. Harrelson said that he also wished that he had not scheduled such a busy final week, in hindsight.
“I looked at that last week and kind of kicked myself for scheduling three games and two of them back-to-back for the final week,” Harrelson said. “We saw some good things, though, and we want to build on those things at practice and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
The Wildcats played Jeff Davis in the opening round of the Class 7A, Area 3 Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 4, and going into the game Harrelson said that rebounding would be big.
“I think we’re going to have to rebound the ball,” he emphasized. “That’s going to be a big key in the game and our half-court defense.
“We’ve done a good job of that the first two games we played them but we have to do a great job (in the tournament) in the half-court in terms of staying between them and the basket. If they score it has to be over us. We can’t give them easy lanes to the basket, and when they do shoot we have to block out and finish defensive possessions with rebounds.”
Enterprise's season came to a close on Tuesday, Feb. 4, with a 53-45 loss to Jeff Davis in Montgomery.
After falling behind 9-0 early in the game, Enterprise never got on track and ultimately saw their season come to an end.
Hayes led Enterprise with 13 points in the loss, while Howell added 12 points.