The Marion County Warriors advanced to the quarterfinal round of the football playoffs, so they got a later start than most with basketball practice.
The Warriors got beat pretty good in their first game at Rhea County, but they evened matters a bit on Monday night with their second-straight road game as they broke from a halftime tie to beat the CSAS Patriots by a 72-67 final.
Kane Hale and Toney Sampson, two of Marion’s stars on the gridiron, proved they aren’t too bad on the hardwood as they combined for 49 points to lead the victory parade.
“This is a whole lot better than our first game, but we’re improving with each passing day,” said Marion County coach Chuck Keef after the final horn had sounded.
“Anytime you get a win in this gym, you’ve done something. Those guys shot the lights out from long range, but we didn’t panic and never gave up. These football players are used to winning and it’s rubbing off on some of the other basketball players.
“I thought that Reece Barton had a good game with several blocks and some key rebounds, but one and one is a whole lot better than oh and two. I’m really pleased with the effort we gave tonight,” Keef smiled.
There wasn’t much joy or happiness for CSAS coach Mark Dragoo, who watched his team fall to 4-3 for the season.
“I don’t think we’re going to outscore anyone, but we didn’t play any defense and that’s what killed us,” the veteran coach suggested while standing at half-court after a brief discussion with his team.
“We shot a bunch of long shots and that wasn’t our plan. When you don’t play defense and you don’t rebound, you get beat most of the time.
“These guys think they’re good and they aren’t listening, but we scored six points in the paint and that’s not a very kind statistic. I really didn’t see anything good and I didn’t have much to say after the game other than I’ll see you at 7 in the morning.
"I’m sure it will be a practice they won’t enjoy, but we’re going to work on defense the whole time and I’m going to show them how to take a charge,” Dragoo added.
The Patriots proved they can shoot the long ball as they made 13 shots from beyond the arc, but they only made 10 two-point buckets.
The Warriors, on the other hand, were willing to pound the ball inside and scored more than their share of points off of offensive rebounds.
That may have been the difference in the game.
Hale scored 12 of his 25 points in the first quarter as the Warriors scored seven of the last 10 points and had a 20-14 lead when the first stanza ended.
Ben Alegre gave the Patriots their first lead at 27-24 with a 3 at the 3:52 mark of the second quarter. The lead changed hands four more times in that period before Marion’s Jace Williamson scored on a put back in the final minute to knot the score at 36-36.
That was the score at intermission.
There were four more lead changes in the third before the Patriots got a drive from the wing by Kobe Clark for a 51-49 advantage with 13 seconds left.\
Marion’s Hale canned the first of two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to get the Warriors within one when the fourth quarter began.
There were three lead changes in the final eight minutes and the score was tied four times, but Hale scored on a slam with 2:17 to play and Sampson scored on a put back 35 seconds later to give the visitors a 67-63 lead.
T.J. Pulliam nailed a jumper from the line with 1:27 to play to get CSAS within two at 67-65 before the Warriors put the game out of reach with five straight points in the final minute.
Hale had 25 points and Sampson 24 to lead the Warriors while Barton followed with eight and Williamson seven.
Pulliam had 28 points to lead the Patriots while Cahlib Edwards had 18 and Clark 10.
The Warriors also had an unofficial 34-32 edge on the boards with Hale grabbing eight. Nico Ivory, Ermiyas Bowden and Barton all claimed six apiece. Troy Pride was tops for CSAS with nine rebounds while Clark claimed eight.
Marion returns to action on Tuesday with a home game against Rhea County while CSAS will be off until a road game on Friday at East Ridge.
MARION CO. GIRLS 50, CSAS 29: A 25-11 start in the first half got the Lady Warriors off on the right foot, but a 16-5 difference in the fourth quarter was a little icing on the cake as Marion improved to 4-1 with the 21-point win.
Amy Webb scored all 13 of her points in the second half to lead the winners while Sara Muir followed with 11. Ashton McGrew was next with nine.
Gianna Fugh was tops for the Lady Patriots with nine points while Deyonna Lansden was next with eight.
MARION CO. 15 10 9 16 -- 50
CSAS 6 5 13 5 -- 29
MARION CO. (50) – Gregory 2, Phillips 5, Schafer, Williamson, Keahey 4, Webb 13, McGrew 9, McDaniel, Pace 2, Rash 3, Jordan, Muir 11, Price 1.
CSAS (29) – Mobley, Carney, Albarakat, Benn 4, Lansden 8, Harris 3, Crumsey, Meyners, Buffington, Mayes 5, Fugh 9, Williams.
3-POINT GOALS: Marion Co. 1 (Rash); CSAS 1 (Mayes).
MARION CO. 20 16 14 22 -- 72
CSAS 14 22 15 16 -- 67
MARION CO. (72) – Sampson 24, Ivory 4, Williamson 7, Barton 8, Hale 25, Lecompte, Bowden 4.
CSAS (67) – Clark 10, Alegre 3, C. Edwards 18, Pulliam 28, Hawkins, Payne, H. Edwards 5, Pride 1, Orr 2.
3-POINT GOALS: Marion Co. 4 (Sampson 2, Ivory, Hale); CSAS 13 (Clark 2, Alegre, Edwards 4, Pulliam 6).
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)