In their first feel-good moment of the season, the Eminence Warriors defeated Kentucky School for the Deaf last Thursday night.
The 49-43 win snapped a 20-game losing streak dating back to last December. The Warriors dropped their final 15 games last winter, then opened with losses to Gallatin County, Heritage Academy, Evangel Christian, Burgin and Kentucky Country Day.
“We’ve been playing better the last couple of games and it was rewarding to gut out a win,” Eminence coach Chris Nethery said. “It was even more rewarding knowing it was against a quality team. It definitely feels good to get that first one.”
The Warriors had to overcome missing players and foul trouble to earn that first victory. Dre Banta, Connor Toole and Brandon Mitchell all had to miss the game. Plus, starting point guard Jordan Fairchild spent a majority of the contest on the bench in foul trouble and picked up his fifth foul early in the final quarter.
Banta, a junior who has been one of Eminence’s key players the last few years, injured his ankle in practice last Monday and was sidelined all week. He will most likely have to sit out the rest of this week but should be ready to go after the holiday break. Nethery said Banta’s absence definitely affected his team’s play against School for the Deaf.
Eminence was ahead 14-12 after the first quarter, 21-20 at the half and 32-29 after the third quarter before holding on for the six-point win.
School for the Deaf played a zone for much of the game before Eminence forced man-to-man defense with a 10-point lead during the final quarter. The Warriors then went inside to freshman Bradley Foree, who scored nine of his 19 points down the stretch in a dominating performance. Jeremy Keller knocked down four free throws to seal the victory.
Besides Foree’s 19 points, Keller scored 12, Sawyer Sims scored 11, TJ Cooper scored four, Fairchild scored two and Daishon Moore scored one.
Sawyer, a sophomore who started in place of Banta, hit three three-point baskets against the zone and added a key two-point shot in the closing minutes. Nethery said he had a monster game. He was also pleased with the play from Trey Lindey, who did not score but limited School for the Deaf’s top player to provide a strong defensive presence.
After the opening win, the Warriors play in the Portland Christian Holiday Classic this week, which started on Monday and goes to Wednesday.
Next up for the Warriors is a home contest against Spencer County on Jan. 5.
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