Turnovers and sloppy play ended in a Chouteau loss Tuesday.
Chouteau led early in the first quarter against Westville, but the absence of senior Travis Brannon, along with other errors, proved too much as the Cats fell to the Yellow Jackets 59-54.
Brannon left school Tuesday afternoon with flu- like symptoms.
Westville’s Hershell Gifford was 13-of-20 from the field, pouring in 30 points for the Yellow Jackets.
Chouteau senior Jordan Shive led the Cats with 19 points.
Arlis Alsip went 5-of-10 from 3-point range, pouring in 16 points, while senior Jason Couch was 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, scoring 15.
Isaac Carter chipped in 4 points.
“I think we were over-anxious at times,” said Chouteau Head Coach Travis Wheeler after the game. “Missing him (Brannon) is big; that’s a lot of rebounds, blocked shots and his 13 points a game. I think with him gone, we just tried to do too much.”
Chouteau led 9-6 with 3:10 to go in the first, but Westville rallied to take a 12-9 lead.
Chouteau then tied it up at 12 when Couch nailed a trey, but that was as close as Chouteau would get.
The Wildcats trailed by as many as seven in the second quarter, but cut the lead to three with seconds to go in the first half.
However, Chouteau turned it over, and Gifford went the distance for an uncontested layup as time expired, giving the Yellow Jackets a 28-23 halftime lead.
Chouteau had no answer for Gifford, who went 4-of-4 from the field in the third quarter – all his shots came from under the basket.
Westville led by as many 14 with more than a minute to play in the third.
Chouteau wasn’t about to give up.
The Wildcats opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run, cutting the lead down to seven.
However, Westville hit free throws down the stretch, securing the win.
Still, the Cats never gave up and kept clawing back throughout the game.
“They never quit, and I like to see that”, said Wheeler.
The Chouteau loss sets up a county clash with Salina on Friday at 5:50 p.m.
Chouteau needed overtime to defeat Salina the week before Christmas, and now Salina will look for revenge.
“That’ll be a good one,” said Wheeler.