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The Eminence Warriors got off to a rough start against the Owen County Rebels on Thursday night in Owenton and never fully recovered in falling to the Rebels 57-44.
The Warriors managed just five points in the first quarter and six in the second period while the Rebels got a hot start from their outside shooters in ringing up 43 first-half points.
“We couldn’t buy a bucket,” Coach Chris Nethery said. “We were trying to be patient on the offensive end, and switching zone defenses to keep it out of the paint, but they hit a lot of three’s and just started to bury us. We did not close out well against their shooters.”
The Warriors made major adjustments at halftime and started to creep closer. After outscoring the Rebels 17-8 in the third period they trailed 42-28.
“We went man-to-man in the second half and played good defense and got some turnovers,” Nethery said. “Carson Williams, their post player, had all eight of their points in the third period. You could tell that he was frustrated at times with our defense but at the end of the game he still had 25 points. It’s just hard to stop him from scoring.”
The Warriors got as close as eight points in the fourth quarter but the Rebels answered with a run to stretch it back to 16 points midway through the period.
“After we cut it to eight they had a little offensive flurry,” Nethery said. “We got hurt in transition a couple of times. We cut it to 10 again but then they hit free throws down the stretch to seal it.”
Nethery saw a silver lining in the game as his team prepared to take on the Rebels again at home in the All A Classic last night.
“We gained some confidence in the second half with our man-to-man defense,” he said. “Switching defenses hurt us in the first half but if we had closed out better it would have worked.”
Nethery was pleased with senior forward Cornelius Sanford.
“Cornelius was all over the floor causing havoc,” he said. “We forced them to lob the ball by fronting Williams and were able to pick off some of those passes from the weak side.”
The loss dropped the Warriors to 2-13, overall, and 0-5 in district play while Owen County improved to 8-5, overall, and 5-0 in district games.