The Eminence Warriors hosted the St. Francis Wyverns on Thursday night and came away with a 21-point win.
The Warriors got out to a four-point lead at 17-13 in the first quarter and maintained it going into the locker room at halftime.
“In the first half we missed a lot of layups,” Coach Chris Nethery said. “We should have been up by more.”
The Warriors shot better in the second half and made some defensive adjustments that paid off as they pulled away from the Wyverns.
“Their big kids presented us with some problems in the first half,” Nethery said. “But we made some adjustments at halftime and forced a lot of turnovers when they tried lobbing the ball into the post. Offensively, we got a lot of looks from the high post against their 1-3-1 zone and found people underneath for layups.”
The Warriors increased their lead to 10 points after three quarters.
In the final period the Warriors continued to click and sailed away to a relatively easy victory.
“We did a good job of being patient against their zone which actually helped us extend the lead,” Nethery said. “Jalen Dixie had a good effort in the first half. He only missed a couple of shots and he did a good job of distributing the ball. He found the open man a lot.
“Overall, it was a good team effort,” Nethery continued. “Everybody played extremely hard. We didn’t shoot very well but everybody found a way to contribute. Mason Wells had another good game off the bench with seven rebounds.”
Williamstown 58 EHS 55
The Warriors hosted the Demons on Friday night and lost a game that Nethery feels the Warriors gave away.
“We made too many mistakes in crucial situation,” Nethery said. “We had fast breaks where we were two on one or three on one and threw the ball away. We had steals or rebounds that we lost the ball back. We had so many good chances that we did not capitalize on.”
The Warriors got off to a good start. They scored the first five points of the game on a 15-foot jumper by Mitchell Golden, who finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds, and a three-point play by Dixie who had 27 points and 16 rebounds.
Williamstown fought back to within one point at 9-8 with 2:26 left in the quarter before the Warriors finished the quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 15-8 going into the second period. Dixie had all six points in the run.
The second quarter saw the Demons come back to outscore the Warriors 15-7 to take a one point lead into the locker room.
In the second half the game stayed close throughout with Williamstown building a five-point lead late. The Warriors got back within one point but could never get over the hump. The Warriors final chance came with about 15 seconds to go. They forced a turnover and after a timeout, set up a play to Dixie a look. But Dixie was called for carrying the ball with 4.8 seconds to go and the Warriors were forced into fouling. The Demons hit the free throws to set the final margin at three.
Nethery felt the game should never have come down to trying to get a final shot for the win. “We had so many mistakes when we could have gone up in the game. It happened all night. It was disappointing to say the least.”
The loss left Eminence with a 3-17 record while Williamstown improved to 9-15.
Gallatin Co. 70 EHS 61
The Eminence Warriors hosted the Gallatin County Wildcats on Feb. 3 for their second meeting of the year. The Wildcats won the first meeting in Warsaw by a score of 70-61. The Wildcats won the second round by a similar score of 75-64 but not without a scare from their hosts.
Gallatin jumped out to an 11-3 lead and led 13-7 with 1;45 left in the first period. After a long dry spell for both teams, Wells cut the margin to four with a reverse layup with 40 seconds left.
Gallatin answered with a 3-pointer with 22 seconds to go to lead by seven before Shelby Armstrong scored on a free throw at 12 seconds.
The Warriors got the ball back on a turnover and Armstrong hit a rebound basket at the buzzer to make it 16-12 going into the second period.
The Wildcats opened the second period with a 9-2 run to go up by 11 at 25-14 with 4:52 left in the half.
The Warriors answered with a put back by Jake McKinley that started a 7-0 run to bring Eminence back within four points at 25-21.
With 56 seconds to go Gallatin scored on a layup to stretch the lead back out to nine points before Trevor Payton hit a runner in the lane with 32 seconds to go. Gallatin got the final basket of the half on a runner with seven seconds to go to make it 36-27 going into the locker room.
Armstrong opened the scoring in the second half with a layup but Gallatin County scored the next six points to take a 13-point lead just two minutes into the second half.
The Warriors again showed resolve as they fought their way back into the game. McKinley’s 3-pointer with 1:26 left in the period pulled the Warriors within six points at 49-43.
The Wildcats immediately answered with a 3-pointer of their own just 12 seconds later to take some wind out of the Warriors’ sails. Two free throws by the Wildcats extended the lead back out to 11 with 55 seconds left in the third period.
McKinley hit another 3-pointer at 40 seconds and the Warriors got a stop on the Wildcats’ next possession, giving them a chance to cut further into the deficit just before the end of the period. It was not to be for the Warriors as Gallatin got a steal and layup at the buzzer to go into the final period leading 56-46.
The Wildcats extended the lead to sixteen points with 4:43 left in the fourth period. The Warriors continued to battle but never got closer than the final 11-point margin.
“The game comes down to controlling the ball in the right spots,” Coach Chris Nethery said. “We had turnovers at crucial moments. We had a chance to shoot layups against their press and just didn’t execute.”
Nethery got good contributions from his bench with Mason Wells and Jake McKinley getting a combined 19 points in the game.
“I thought Jake played well,” Nethery said. “It wasn’t just hitting the 3-pointers. He also played good defense. Mason gave us a lift with six points and good defense too.”
Nethery was most pleased with a couple of veteran starters who were under the weather for the game.
“Mitchell Golden and Shelby Armstrong were both sick,” Nethery said. “Mitchell had a stomach bug that landed him in the hospital for dehydration the day before and he came out and gave all he had. Shelby was fighting bronchitis and he gave us what he could. I was proud of them for their effort under the circumstances.”