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Braves scalp Warriors

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By Greg Woods

The Eminence Warriors opened the season at home against the Grant County Braves and found the Braves’ pressure a little more than they could handle as Grant County forced the Warriors into about 30 turnovers on their way to a 68-51 victory.

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The Warriors scored the game’s first five points on a 3-pointer by Jalen Dixie and two free throws by Brandon Mitchell, before Grant County began to turn up the pressure. Grant then reeled off 12 points in a row and never looked back as they stretched the lead to 22-11 by the end of the first period.

In the second period the Warriors played the Braves fairly evenly despite the turnovers.

The Braves opened the period with a layup off a Warrior miscue and stretched the lead out to 19 points at 32-13 before the Warriors went on a 13-6 run to close the gap to 12 at halftime.

Dixie and Cornelius Sanford led the Warriors in the second period with five points each as Grant County’s pressure defense led to several free throw opportunities for Eminence. The Warriors, who hit 8-of-15 free throws in the period, could have closed the gap even more had they been more accurate from the charity stripe.

The Warriors handled the pressure better in the third quarter, but the difference maker for the Braves was junior guard Tyler Carr. Carr scored 10 points in the quarter on several pull-up jumpers off handoffs from the 15-18-foot range.

The Warriors’ Trent Overall led Eminence in the period with 5 points as the Braves outscored Eminence 18-13 to take a 56-39 lead heading into the final period.

Grant County stretched the lead to 20 points to open the final period before the Warriors cut the lead to 15 on an Overall 3-pointer and a put-back by Demarcus Bailey. From there the Braves let the air out of the ball and forced the Warriors into fouling to get the ball back. Grant County ended up scoring 10 of their 12 points in the period from the foul line to seal the victory.

Carr led all scorers with 21 points, while Sanford led the Warriors with 13 points.

In a game marred by turnovers and fouls, the Warriors got little production from inside players Brandon Mitchell and Daishon Moore who spent a lot of time on the bench with foul trouble. Three Warriors — Mitchell, Moore and Brooklyn Rucker — fouled out while Grant County had one player foul out and several others end the game with four fouls. Neither team shot very well from the line as Eminence converted 15-30 free throws and Grant County 19 of 31. Eminence committed 28 fouls in the game and Grant County had 30 fouls.

Coach Chris Nethery thought foul shooting and turnovers were important factors in the game. “They hit more free throws, especially down the stretch and we turned it over way too much,” he said. “They also got too many offensive boards. We didn’t capitalize on our easy chances.

“A lot of the things that they did to cause us problems — it was really us who caused the problem. We have a lot of simple things that we have to fix. It’s things you take for granted. When you only have three weeks with your football players you have to pick and choose what you work on. Now we can go back to work and focus on the little things we need to improve on. We did handle the ball somewhat better the second half and found some open people.”

 

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