Dec. 22—KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Carthage boys basketball team did not receive a lump of coal as an early Christmas present.
Instead, the Tigers were the beneficiaries of a dominant 62-29 victory over Odessa on Wednesday afternoon in the inaugural 12 Courts of Christmas Shoot-Out at the Hy-Vee Arena in Kansas City.
The triumph vaulted Carthage's record to 6-1 and upped its winning streak to three straight games.
"We are so proud of this group so far," Carthage coach Nathan Morris said. "Basketball fans can appreciate how hard they play and how unselfish with the ball they are. 6-1 is great, but it's how they are doing it. They are buying into scouting reports, executing our plays and battling everyday in practice."
The Tigers were off and rolling as Tyler Willis capped a 9-0 start to the game with a three-point play early in the first quarter. But the Bulldogs responded with a 11-3 run to close out the period after Garrett Bayless knocked down a corner trey to cut the score to 12-11.
In the final minute of the second quarter, sophomore Justin Ray drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing to extend Carthage's lead out to 22-13 over Odessa.
The Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 10-2 alone in the second stanza to build a 23-13 halftime advantage.
Odessa came out firing with a 8-2 run to trim the deficit to 25-20 in the third quarter, but Willis executed another three-point play to elongate Carthage's lead to 28-20.
And that proved to be igniter as the Tigers were in complete control the rest of the way. Junior guard Britt Coy all but sealed the game with a steal and a bucket in transition to pull Carthage in front 47-24 early in the fourth quarter.
"We defended an extremely athletic team as well as you possibly can for 32 minutes today," Morris said. "On the flip side, we only had two live-ball turnovers while handling their press for a full 32 minutes. We didn't score it well in stretches of the first and third quarter, but we didn't allow that to keep us from defending well."
Senior Joel Pugh fired in a team-high 13 points to lead Carthage. The 5-foot-11 point guard had plenty of success from beyond the arc as he knocked down four triples.
Max Templeman, a 5-10 junior, added 12 points and made one trifecta. Ray chipped in 10 points and hit two 3s, while junior Clay Kinder had eight.
Coy contributed seven points for the Tigers. All six of Willis's points came off a pair of three-point plays.
"We got big contributions from nine players today," Morris added. "Hopefully, that will be huge for us down the road."
Bayless hit a pair of 3s and ultimately tallied a game-high 18 points to pace Odessa in scoring. The Bulldogs fall to 6-4 on the season with the loss.
After Christmas, Carthage is back in action against Lincoln College Prep on Dec. 28 in the Rolla US Bank Holiday Tournament.
"We have played a tough schedule so far, but it gets even harder next week at Rolla and in January," Morris said.