By HEATHER BOATMAN, CJ Correspondent Commonwealth Journal
The Southwestern Warriors beat out the Vikings from Rowan County on Monday night for the third-place slot in the Lake
Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic, 59-50.
“It’s hard to get the kids to play with a great deal of energy four days in a row,” said Warriors coach Steve Wright. “I thought that we came back from a disappointing loss yesterday (Saturday) and we followed the game plan pretty well tonight.”
The Warriors held on to the lead for most of the game but Rowan was able to take it in the fourth. There were four lead changes that occurred in the fourth quarter, Southwestern was finally able to put the Vikings away in the final minute of play.
In the first quarter, Southwestern was the first one to strike as Dylan Gaskin scored from an offensive put back. Adam Isaacs hit a three in transition, then a couple of trips later, Hunter Cromer hit a three as well. Cromer scored five of his 15 in the opening quarter.
The Warriors ended up with 12 after the first quarter of play, at 12-9, a three point lead.
The score remained close the whole game, but the Vikings could not get over the hump and take the lead until much later in the game. In the second quarter, Cromer was able to steal the ball from Rowan and take it back for the layup. The Warriors had the largest lead of the game before the half at 26-16, a 10-point difference. The Vikings got a layup and then hit a buzzer-beater three right before the half. The score at the half was 26-21.
“We did not shoot the ball extremely well tonight but we made a lot of good plays,” said Wright. “It was a slow-paced game because both teams were tired so we executed in half court pretty well.”
In the third quarter Rowan hit two threes and made several close range jumpers. Isaacs hit two floaters when penetrating the lane on back-to-back trips.
By the end of the third, Rowan found themselves trailing by one, 39-38. It was almost immediately in the fourth quarter when Rowan took their first lead at 40-39. Isaacs hit a three a few scoreless trips later to give Southwestern the lead back at 42-40. After have a defensive lapse and giving up three offensive rebounds, the Vikings were able to hit a three, giving them the lead at 47-46.
Justin Edwards hit two free throws midway through the fourth. The ball was passed to Cromer in transition from a steal and he made the layup and was whistled for the foul, 51-47. Rowan came back with in one of the Warriors but they did not get the lead back in the remaining minute of the game. The final score was 59-50.
“Any time you have four guys in double figures your offense is balanced and people are helping others out with the scoring.” Wright remarked.
The Warriors are now 10-2 after finishing third in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic. The Warriors are returning to action on Saturday to play Louisville Doss in the Panthers Classic.