Warriors close out 2018 with a win

By | January 3, 2019 9:07 am

Masyn Winningham goes up for a layup in a game earlier this season. Winningham helped the Warriors pick up a win on their final day in Daytona, finishing the game with 11 points.

By Eli Rushing

The Warriors picked up their second win of the Sunshine Classic, as they secured fifth place in the tournament, defeating the Elizabethton Cyclones.

The first quarter started with a series of sloppy closeouts, as the Cyclones took advantage of the White County zone and banged three triples home after making extra passes. The systematic approach of Elizabethon’s offense patiently attacked the perimeter with solid shooting, and the Warriors trailed 10-17 at the end of one.

Things began to pick up for the boys in the second, as they were able to drive the tempo by grabbing rebounds and pushing the ball down the floor. Grant Slatten and Masyn Winningham found themselves in the lead of many fast break decisions and impressed with unselfish passes and decision making. The Warrior fans once again made an impact, as their cheering drowned out the Cyclone supporters and created tension that impacted Elizabethon. At the half, White County held a one-point lead of 29-28.

A rough start to the second half sent momentum swinging back in Elizabethon’s favor, as the White County offense stalled, and the Cyclones made several three-point attempts. A glimmer of hope shone through when the Warriors worked the ball inside to Micah Webster who slung it out to Dyson Reece for three, but the boys trailed 42-49, with one quarter remaining in Daytona.

Slatten asserted his dominance in the final period as he took the role of the primary ball handler and sent passes zipping over to teammates. A rapid pace once again took hold of the game, as White County pressed and launched out on the fast break following every stop. David Kinser brought a clutch boost of energy to the game and made good on every opportunity that he had to score in the fourth. The big man sank all five of his free throw attempts in the period and made a pair of great looks inside following superb passes from Winningham and Slatten. His two makes from the foul line, with 27 seconds remaining, permanently put the game out of reach from the Cyclones, and the Warriors held onto a 66-61 lead at the final buzzer.

Slatten received All-Tournament honors and also led his team with 18 points, while Kinser contributed 15. Slatten and Kade Clark both had four assists, and the pair also brought down four boards along with Winningham.

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