YATES CENTER — Humboldt High’s Cubs led from start to finish, grabbing a double-digit lead by late in the first quarter, and claimed a road victory Tuesday night at Yates Center High.
The Cubs’ 70-50 victory didn’t accurately depict how hotly the game was contested, both coaches said.
After defeating Yates Center by 47 points six weeks ago, Humboldt had a tougher time against the rival Wildcats.
“They’re much improved,” Humboldt coach David Taylor said. “I’m very impressed with how the Yates Center kids played. And I don’t think we improved tonight.”
Humboldt threatened to run away early on in similar fashion to their 80-32 win Dec. 12, jumping out to a 14-4 lead 4½ minutes into the contest.
But Yates Center’s Trevor Chism drained a 3-pointer to settle the Wildcats, who went toe-to-toe with Humboldt for the balance of the half.
With Noah Thornbrugh and Tanner McNutt leading the way, Humboldt led 20-7 after one quarter before Yates Center’s Caleb Denoon scored to trigger a 5-2 run to cut Humboldt’s lead back to 10.
A Trey Johnson 3-pointer, followed 30 seconds later by a McNutt trey, pushed the lead to 16, 31-15.
DeNoon drained two more 3-pointers on opposite sides of the halftime break to close the Wildcats to within 11, 38-27, before Humboldt found some traction offensively once again. Thornbrugh and McNutt both scored four points during an 8-2 run to extend the lead to 48-29, with 4½ minutes left in the third quarter.
Cameron Brown kept Yates Center within shouting distance down the stretch, scoring 12 of his 14 points after halftime.
The Cubs led 59-35 before Yates Center outscored Humboldt 15-11 in the fourth quarter.
“I told the kids tonight that Humboldt is as good as anybody in our area,” Wildcat coach Kevin Brown said. “And if we could battle with these guys, there’s no reason we can’t compete with every team left on our schedule. The kids competed all 32 minutes tonight.”
But Humboldt showed that even on an “off” night, it has plenty of firepower to make life miserable for opponents.
McNutt poured in 21 points while Thornbrugh added 17 poionts — nine of which came in the first quarter — six rebounds, seven steals, five assists and five blocks. Nathan Whitcomb added 10 points.
DeNoon added 11 points and Robert Arnold scored seven for the Wildcats in a balanced scoring attack. All nine Wildcats who entered the game scored.
DeNoon also had seven rebounds, while Brown had seven assists and six rebounds. Miles Dicce had six rebounds. Four Yates Center players had at least two steals. McNett paced the Wildcats with three steals.
Humboldt (13-0) resumes play Friday at home against Erie in its annual winter homecoming. The Wildcats (3-8) will host Cherryvale.
Yates Center (7-17-11-15—50)
Humboldt (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP): Vanatta 2-0-0-4, McNutt 4/2-7-4-21, Murrow 1-2-0-4, Whitcomb 4-2-1-10, Aguirre 1-1-0-3, Crawford 3-0-2-6, Johnson 1/1-0-3-5, Thornbrugh 7-3-1-17. TOTALS: 23/3-15-11-70.
Yates Center (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP): Chism 0/1-0-1-3, Cooper 1-0-0-2, DeNoon 2/2-1-2-11, Schemper 1-0-2-2, Brown 7-0-3-14, McNett 1/1-0-2-5, Dice 1-0-4-2, Rossillon 2-0-1-4, Arnold 2-3-3-7. TOTALS: 17/4-4-18-50.
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