By Bob Simmons
Early in the season, the Winfield Warriors have demonstrated improvement as the learningprocess under third-year coach, Bryan Keim, continues. After the loss to Fort Zumwalt East in the first round of the Bank of Old Monroe Classic In Winfield, the Warriors responded with two wins which earned them the consolation trophy.
Keim liked the way his team responded following the loss to East.
“It didn’t go the way we anticipated,” he said. “We knew East was going to pressure us and try to speed us up. They did a good job of not letting us get into a rhythm offensively. We still got off some good shots, but couldn’t consistently finish. Their pressure also got us to turn the ball over which led to some fast break points for them. It was a great game for us handling their pressure. It’s not something you can really replicate in practice so we were able to learn from it.”
Carter Bauer led Winfield with 15 points in a 55-33 loss..
In the semi-finals, the Warriors won 48-42 over the St. Louis Christian Home School Knights. Bauer led Winfield with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Eli Siecinski led the Knights with 17 points.
The teams battled to a 22-22 standoff at the half with the Knights holding only a three-point edge in each of the last quarters in the second half.
“It was a great bounce back game from round one of the tournament,” said Keim. “We knew it was going to be a tough game because the Knights have good height and athleticism. They packed in their zone and made it difficult for us to score around the rim, but we stayed the course and found a way to win. We didn’t help ourselves from the free throw line going 11-25, but we didn’t let it dictate the outcome of the game. We hit them when it counted! I’m very proud of this group.”
Winfield hooked up with Elsberry for consolation. These two teams met in the season opener at Elsberry with Winfield winning by two in overtime. This time, Winfield had an easier time, winning 52-37. Bauer led Winfield with 20 points and eight rebounds. Bryant Reeves had 14 points. A 16-6 edge in scoring in the third period keyed the win for Winfield.
“We finished the BOOM tournament strong with good defense and efficient offense,” said Keim. “I was very proud of the way our guys executed on both ends of the court. We knew it was going to be tough to contain their size inside, but our kids battled and did a great job in the paint. On offense we got tons of shots. We didn’t shoot a high percentage, but we were getting shots we wanted which is all we can ask for. Now we have to follow the tournament up with a good week this week. We want to continue to progress and grow and move forward.”