After winning their season opener and dropping the next eight, the Eminence Warriors jumped back on the winning side of things with a big 59-33 outing over Covington Latin last Tuesday night on their home court. It was their first check in the win column in almost a month.
Eminence’s key players built a large lead — which was 16-9 after the first quarter, 34-11 after the second and 52-15 after the third — while the rest of the Warriors managed to cruise in for the 26-point victory to improve the basketball squad to 2-8 on the season. Meanwhile, Latin dropped to 0-5.
“Anytime a team gets a win, it really boosts its moral,” Eminence coach Chris Nethery said. “I thought we played well. The starters got in there and did some positive things early to push up our lead and the second- and third-string players were able to get some experience in a varsity game.”
The previous two games — a 59-47 loss to Ludlow and a 52-44 loss to Spencer County — the Warriors were in contention for the win until the final minutes when both squads pulled away with late surges. This time around, though, Eminence celebrated its first feel-good moment in a long time with its first win since a 57-54 outing over Kentucky School for the Deaf Dec. 2.
Dre Banta scored a game-high 19 points with three three-point baskets, Ed Berry scored 15, Bradley Foree scored 12, Roy Rose scored four, Brock Roberts scored three, and Saywer Sims, Michael Preston and Jordan Fairchild scored two each. The biggest difference in the game was on the boards, though, where the Warriors pulled down 23 more rebounds than Latin in an impressive performance for a team that usually struggles in that category with a roster full of guards.
Eminence’s starting lineup against Latin included Banta, Berry, Foree, Fairchild and Sean Armstrong. Early in the contest, thanks to a three-pointer from Banta just 15 seconds in the game and a pair of baskets from Berry, Eminence was in front 9-0 when Latin called a timeout less than three minutes into the game.
After a 16-9 Eminence advantage during the first quarter, Eminence went on a long scoring run that included 14 unanswered points in an eight-minute stretch. With seven seconds left until the half, Latin scored its first basket during its second-quarter woes. Then, at the other end, Berry knocked down a jumper and was fouled as time expired. His free throw gave the Warriors a 34-11 halftime advantage.
After the break, with a majority of Eminence’s younger and least experienced players on the court, the Warriors outscored Latin 19-4 during the third quarter. Latin then turned the tables to outscore Eminence 18-7 during the fourth quarter to close the gap from 37 points to 26 before the final horn sounded.
For the Warriors — a team that is trying to put the pieces together with Nethery as a first-year head coach — the win was just what they needed with the second half of the season looming ahead.
“I think we’re starting to come together a little more,” Nethery said. “As far as practice goes, we’re starting to see things we haven’t seen all season. Our players are excited, they come to practice ready to play and get better because they’re now seeing themselves improving. I’m definitely seeing progress.”
Eminence traveled to Spencer County Tuesday and will host Louisville Collegiate this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
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