Three days after they came from behind to defeat their in-county rivals, the Eminence Warriors almost pulled off another come-from-behind victory, this time against Trimble County.
But the Warriors were one 3-point bomb shy of completing the comeback, and the Raiders came out with a 67-64 win.
Eminence built a nice lead with a 13-2 run to open the game only to see it fall as Trimble fought their way back into it. Eventually the Raiders would lead by 10 points, at 32-22, and lead by 8 at the half.
Eminence coach Chris Nethery felt his team was a bit lackadaisical in one key area. “We had a strong start but we got lazy in transition defense and gave them a lot of open looks,” he said. “We’re not getting back because we are celebrating the fact that we scored.”
But the Warriors showed the same ability to bounce back as they did against Henry County, and rallied, taking a brief lead before going cold. Trimble rallied to build a 5- to 7-point lead for most of the fourth period.
“I counted 10 easy shots that we missed when we were coming back,” Nethery said.
The Warriors then chipped away at the Raider lead in the final minutes of the game. They tightened up their defense and began to foul to stop the clock.
The strategy worked. As Trimble settled for one or two free throws while the Warriors were raining down 3-pointers. Trent Overall hit two big threes down the stretch to give the Warriors hope.
With the score at 66-64, and 12 seconds on the clock, the Warriors fouled Trimble County again, but hit only one of two free throws.
The Warriors set up a 3-point look for Overall. But Overall’s attempt was off the mark and Eminence chased down the rebound. Trimble’s defense recovered well and Jalen Dixie was forced to take a last gasp 3-pointer from about 40 feet as the buzzer sounded. The shot was off, but could did not take away from a strong game by Dixie who had 23 points and almost single-handedly brought the Warriors back in the third period.
“I think Jalen had like 12 points in a row when we were coming back,” Nethery said. “He played a huge game. DeMarcus Bailey also had another good game and Brandon Mitchell had a good second half.
“We just need to get the whole team showing up and playing well at the same time. You can’t expect to have one or two players play well and expect to win.”