The Winfield Warriors are building momentum as the curtain falls on January and the window open for February.
On Jan. 16, they posted a 46-43 win over Warrenton. “We struggled offensively in the first half but our defense kept us in the game,” said Coach Seth McDowell. “In the second half we flip flopped those two and luckily, David (Bauer) was able to hit a contested shot at the buzzer to give us a big conference win.”
Bauer finished with 22 points and five assists. Damian Cagle and Igi Valcani followed with eight points each.
On Jan. 22, they hooked up in another tight contest prevailing with a 57-53 win over Lift for Life. Jeremiah Duckett scored 22 points after sitting out the first half of the season. Bauer finished with 18 points, Valcani had nine rebounds.
“This was a great team win,” said McDowell. “They (Lift for Life) were very athletic and quite a bit bigger than us. We executed our game plan and were able to hold on for the win. We finally shot free throws well and the old saying ‘free throws can’t win all the games but they win the close ones’ was definitely true this night. Igli played big and was a force on the boards which was key for us considering we were outsized. Jeremiah was a welcome addition as well and will only continue to help us.”
In their next game, they again came out on top with a 56-53 win over Affton. Bauer had a strong night, scoring 29 points. Valcani had 10 points and nine rebounds with Duckett finishing with 11 points.
“This was another great win,” said McDowell. “Affton is very athletic, good shooters and well coached. They run a lot of good stuff. We had several guys play well who might not show up in the state column but they were key to this win. Travis (Osborn), Damian (Cagle) and Dakota (Robertson) played well defensively and handled the ball for us.”
The last two games were in the Orchard Farm Tourney. Winfield was sixth seed with Lift for Life third seed and Affton was second seed.
On Jan 25, the Warriors lost to North Tech 67-52.
“North Tech is a really good team,” said McDowell. “They are very athletic and play good pressure defense that got to us. We knew going in we had to pick our poison with them offensively. Normally they don’t shoot the three’s nearly as well as they did tonight. They hit seven of them in the first half. I will take the blame for that. However, our kids battled the whole game and we brought it to within four in the third quarter. They never quit but the turnovers we committed finally got to us.”
Duckett led with 17 points and Bauer had 12 points.
On Jan 29, they won against Clopton 54-47 in the opening round of the Bowling Green Tournament. Bauer led with 26 points and Duckett had 15 point.
“Clopton is a well-coached team that plays hard the entire game” McDowell said. “This was a good win for us. We are continuing to improve each game and getting use to Jeremiah (Duckett) being back in the lineup. He rebounded a lot better tonight and looked to attack the basket more. Those are two areas we need him to strive in. Dakota (Robertson knocked down some big shots late in the fourth that swung the momentum our way.
In the semifinals of the Bowling Green Tournament, the Warriors held on for a 53-51 win over Elsberry.
“Our kids competed until the final buzzer and never gave up,” said McDowell. This was a good team win for us. They have bought in to the fact that if you play as hard as you can every time you step on the floor good things will happen. David Bauer has a knack for the ball and came up with some key steals and some big shots when we needed them.”
Bauer scored 34 points in the win with Duckett following with 11 points. Bauer made six of nine attempts from the three-point range. Duckett and Valcani had six rebounds each to lead.
Elsberry led by four after three periods and held a 19-13 edge in scoring in the final period.
“We knew we were a better team than we showed the last time we played them and think we proved that tonight. Elsberry’s coach said they were on another level than anyone else in the tournament and we wanted to show otherwise.”
Weather cancelled the final round where the Warriors were to play Louisiana for the tourney title.