Warriors use a big second half to secure spot in Region Semifinals
Posted By Andy Southard | March 2, 2017 7:34 am
Last Updated: March 2, 2017 at 7:39 am
Many coaches will say that when tournament time rolls around, all that matter is winning and getting to the next round. Whether a team wins by one or 50 has no bearing on the next game. Just going to the next game is the important things. The Warriors did just that. They survived an upset bid by visiting Bradley Central, on Saturday night, to live another day and keep the dream alive.
The win seemed to mean a lot to the Warriors because of the opponent they were facing. The Warriors faced off against a team that not only ended their perfect season last year but also end their season. The Bradley Central Bears came into Roy Sewell Gymnasium, on Saturday night, looking to pull the upset two years in a row. This year, though, the Warriors were able to pull out a 67-54 win using a big second half where the Warriors outscored the Bears 45-26.
In a game where there were two technical fouls and two flagrant fouls called all on Bradley Central, the Warriors kept their emotions intact and were able to walk out of Roy Sewell Gymnasium with the victory.
In the first quarter, on Saturday night, Bradley Central started the game off hot scoring the first 5 points to take an early 5-0 lead. But the Warriors tie the game up at 5 after a Jared Carter three, and then on the next possession he would hit make a layup, with 4:39 left in the first quarter.
Bradley Central would then go on a 9-2 run to take a 14-7 lead with the two points from the Warriors coming from Hunter Copeland. The Warriors would close out the first quarter on a 5-2 run to cut the lead to 16-12 heading into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Bradley Central would hit a 3 to start the quarter, but the Warriors would get 3 straight points from Malik Murray to pull the Warriors back within 4. Murray would go one of two from the line and then hit a shot underneath the basket. Bradley Central would hit another 3, but the Warriors would answer back with 4 straight points from Carter and Pierce Whited to make the score 19-22, with 3:29 remaining in the half. However, Bradley Central would end the second quarter on a 6-3 run to take a 28-22 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, Bradley started the quarter off going one of two from the free throw line, and on the next Warrior possession that’s where everything got interesting. On the next Warriors’ possession, there was an intentional foul called and a technical foul called on a Bradley Central player that gave the Warriors four straight free throws.
Carter would step to the line for the Warriors and knock down all four of the free throws to cut the Bears lead to 29-26. After the free throws, the Warriors got the ball back. Whited was able to find some space behind the 3-point line and knock down the 3 to tie the game up at 29 all, with 6:33 remaining in the third quarter.
Bradley Central would knock down a 3 on their next possession to go up by 3. On the Warriors next possession, though, there was another technical foul called on a Bradley Central player after he pushed down a Warrior player after the whistle had been blown. Carter would again step to the free throw line and knock down one of his two free throws, this time to make the score 32-30, with 5:54 remaining.
Bradley Central would steal the ball after the inbounds pass and take it in for 2. But the Warriors would close out the quarter on an 11-2 run. Thomas Dalton would get fouled and go the free throw line to shoot two free throws. He would make the first but miss the second one. On the miss, Murray would get the offensive rebound and pass it to Carter. Carter would drive to the basket and get fouled. He would make both of his free throws to cut the lead to 1. On the Warriors’ next possession of the quarter, Whited would find some open space on the right side of the court behind the 3-point line, and he would knock down a 3 to give the Warriors their first lead of the game at 36-34, with 1:44 remaining in the quarter.
After a pair of free throws from Bradley Central, Carter would knock down a 3 to give the Warriors the 39-36 lead. This time they wouldn’t give up this lead. Whited would go on to close out the quarter knocking down a pair of free throws and gave the Warriors a 41-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter of play, Bradley Central would get the scoring started by knocking down a layup to cut the Warriors lead to 3. Hunter Copeland would get the first basket of the fourth quarter for the Warriors on an underneath-the-basket shot to push the lead to 43-38.
After a Bradley Central 3 to cut the lead to 2, Murray would knock down a pair of free throws to push the Warriors lead to 45-41. Bradley would go to the line and knock down one of two free throws, and Murray would answer back with a layup to give the Warriors a 47-42 lead, with 5:26 remaining in the game. Bradley would get within 3 over the next 5:26, but that’s as close as they came as the Warriors were able to knock down 14-16 free throws and secure the 67-54 win.
With the win the Warriors move to 25-6 on the season and will look to make it to the Region Championship, on Tuesday night, with a win. The stats from that game were not available at press time.