When the Eminence Warriors first met the Owen County Rebels this season, Eminence pulled off a big upset.
The Warriors surely were hoping for another upset Friday night as they paired up against the Rebels again in the semifinals of the 8th region All A Classic tournament. But it was not to be.
The Rebels had more balance in their offense than in the first meeting when play was dominated by the inside tandem of Carson Williams and Justin Shelton. Guards Zach Ripy and Hunter Trenary went for 23 and 10 points respectively, and — more importantly — hit their free throws down the stretch to help Owen pull away for a 15-point win in a game that was close until late in the fourth period.
The Warriors got off to a good start, leading 12-8 after one period of play. But the Rebels came back to win the second period 15-7 to take a 4-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
The third period was more evenly contested with Owen adding just one point to their lead going into the final period of play.
The final period opened with Eminence coming within a bucket of tying or going ahead several times.
“The game was close until the final four minutes,” Nethery said. “The key was our inability to make crucial plays on offense and defense at crucial points throughout the game. Two or three times in the fourth period we had the ball with a chance to take the lead, only to have the opportunity end with points for them.”
Because the Warriors were unable to take the lead, they were forced to foul, which Ripy took advantage of. He hit 9-of-10 free throws in the final period and 11-of-12 for the game. The Rebels were 19-of-24 for the game while the Warriors hit 7-of-11 free throws.
Nethery said Trenary hit a couple of big 3-pointers in the third period as the Warriors were clawing their way back into the game and Ripy added another in the fourth period at a crucial point in the game.
The Warriors were 6-of-21 beyond the 3-point stripe for the game while Owen County hit 4-of-12. The taller Rebels held a slim margin of 26-24 on the boards for the game, but 10 of the Warriors’ rebounds were on the offensive end.
Overall, Eminence shot 34.7 percent for the game and Owen shot 46 percent.
Nethery praised the play of his guards. “Jalen Dixie played well,” he said. “He kept us in the game. Brooklyn Rucker also had a good game.”
Owen County went on to beat Walton-Verona in the championship game Saturday night and will play Middlesboro in the first round of the State All A Classic tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. in Frankfort at the Convention Center.
Eminence 68, St. Franics 53
The Eminence Warriors traveled to Louisville on Jan. 15 to take on the St. Francis Wyverns and came away with a 68-53 victory.
The game was not as close as the score indicated, as the Warriors jumped on top early and used the chance to play their younger players for most of the second half.
The Warriors used 10 players in the first quarter, jumping out to a 15-6 lead.
They increased the lead to 32-14 by halftime and cruised into the fourth period leading 44-22.
“We played good half court defense and got out in the passing lanes and got a lot of steals on their entry passes,” Nethery said.
“It was a good chance to play our younger players. We got a lot out of it for them and it allowed us to rest the older guys for the All A later in the week.
“Jake McKinley our freshman guard handled the ball most of the second half and did a pretty good job. Demarcus Bailey had a good game. He rebounded the ball well and played good defense. He also attacked the rim well.
“Justin Mitchell played well. He rebounded the ball well and played good defense. He picked off a couple of passes for layups. He is maturing more on the court. We had good offensive balance in this game.”
The Warriors hit 18-of-42 shots from the field and outrebounded the Wyverns 43-20. Jalen Dixie led the Warriors in scoring with 12 points and Daishon Moore contributed 8 points in a game in which 11 different Warriors scored at least 2 points.