After the Eminence Warriors lost three more basketball games last week - Tuesday against Spencer County (71-33), Thursday against Louisville Collegiate (52-29) and Saturday against Kentucky Country Day (56-28) - their head coach, Keith Blackburn, wants the struggling squad to have a complete overhaul.
Blackburn can list the Warriors problems without hesitation: they've started each game behind early, they can't find ways to score, they aren't attacking the basket enough, they're too passive on offense, not aggressive enough on defense and don't have the needed chemistry. Now, he's looking for answers.
"I keep scratching my head trying to figure out when we're going to turn the corner and how we're going to turn the corner," Blackburn said. "We have to continue to play hard and go back to the basics - do a complete overhaul."
The Warriors opened the season with losses to Heritage Academy and Evangel Christian before defeating Kentucky School for the Deaf for their only win. They then jumped on a 10-game losing streak, which might have extended when they played at Anderson County Tuesday night.
"If you would have told me a few months ago where we're at right now, I would have said you're crazy," Blackburn explained. "I actually scheduled us tougher opponents this year because of my anticipation of what I thought this team was capable of. But I still think we have the opportunity to make this season memorable. Hopefully we can start doing some things really soon though, because time is running out."
Despite the team's obvious frustrations, Blackburn said, the players have never given up. Even when they are behind by 20-plus points, they keep playing hard until the final buzzer.
"If there's one bright side to this season so far, it's that these guys never stop playing hard," Blackburn said. "They will be down by 20 to 25 points and still play like the game's tied. It's so easy to give up if you are behind, but these guys never do."
Following the Anderson game Tuesday, the Warriors will travel to South Oldham Thursday, host Paris Saturday at 7 p.m. and then prepare of the All "A" Classic, which Eminence will open against Carroll County (at Gallatin) Jan. 25.
"I'm not giving up on my players, myself or anybody that's apart of this team," Blackburn said. "Winners face adversity head on and learn from it. If anything, the returning players will learn what we need to do when we face adversity again. They've proved to me that they aren't going to quit because they would have a long time ago. Night in and night out, we have to keep our chin up and give it all we've got."
Spencer 71, Eminence 33: In both team's 30th District regular-season openers, Spencer County easily defeated Eminence High School last Tuesday night, 71-33.
The visiting Spencer Bearcats improved to 7-8 overall and started district play at 1-0, while the Eminence Warriors dropped to 1-9 and started district play at 0-1.
Spencer used an early spurt to gain a 22-4 advantage following the lopsided first quarter. The Bearcats then took a 30-8 lead into the half.
Eminence's Shaun Hamlin drove the ball down the court and scored the first basket of the second half, but Spencer responded with a 6-0 run to go ahead 36-10 and force Eminence's head coach, Keith Blackburn, to call a timeout.
Later in the quarter, Eminence's Ed Berry converted on a three-point play and teammate Nelson Hedges scored on an inside basket to score five quick points for Eminence, but it did little to slow down the charging Bearcats, who continued to pull away.
After the third quarter, the Bears were in front 51-18, and pulled away to the convincing 38-point victory.
Eminence will close out district play on the road at Anderson County Jan. 15 and at home against Shelby County on Feb. 5. The Warriors will more than likely play Anderson, who gave Shelby its first loss of the season last week, in the opening round of districts.
Collegiate 52, Eminence 29: Louisville Collegiate jumped out to an early lead against the visiting Eminence Warriors last Thursday night and cruised in for a 52-29 victory.
Collegiate was ahead 18-3 after the first quarter, 28-9 at the half and 41-16 after the third.
For Eminence, Nelson Hedges and Ethan Keiser scored seven points each to lead the squad.
KCD 56, Eminence 28: In familiar fashion, the Eminence Warriors trailed early against Kentucky Country Day Saturday afternoon, and ended the game behind by 28 points, 56-28.
KCD was in front 11-3 after the first quarter and 24-9 at the half before outscoring the Warriors 32-19 during the final two quarters.
The leading scorer for Eminence was Nelson Hedges with seven points.
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