The Winfield Warriors pushed Orchard Farm into overtime on Feb. 11, with the score deadlocked at 41-41 at the end of the fourth quarter.
Neck and neck, the two teams duked it out until the Warriors emerged victorious on the other end, taking the night 53-49.
It was the second time the two teams had squared off within five days, and coach Bryan Keim said both teams were very familiar with the other.
“They had us down at halftime, but I liked some of the things we were doing at both ends of the floor,” Keim said. “We were getting the shots we wanted, they just weren’t falling. Defensively we were playing extremely well. They made some tough shots against us which sometimes you just have to tip your cap to. We stayed the course and dominated the third quarter. They put pressure on us in the fourth and came back to tie the game before we won in OT.”
Earlier in the week, the Warriors had faced off against Louisiana for the third time this year.
“We prevailed the first two so we knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Keim said. “They’d been playing well lately and even better at home. They’re a scrappy group, fought us ‘til the end.” The Warriors prevailed in that game 50-41.
Through this season, Keim said his team has grown exponentially. At the beginning, Keim said “you could tell we were really trying to figure out who we were going to be.”
Players were still working to solidify their roles, and Keim himself was still trying to determine what play style would compliment the team the best.
“We started out the year 2-4 and since then are 13-3,” Keim said. “There’s still a couple of games we’d like to have back, but I’ve been happy with how we’ve progressed.”
There’s always room to improve still, he added, saying the team needs to work on finishing out games, and handle the pressure late when they have a lead.
“We need to be better at overall controlling the pace of play and playing our game instead of the other team’s,” Keim said.
With districts coming on, Winfield is looking at a tough field of competition. Keim said seven out of eight teams have .500 records, and every game is going to be hard-fought no matter how the tourney gets seeded.
“We’re excited about hosting districts as well as we hope to have some home-court advantage with our fans,” Keim said. Taking care of the ball, playing good defense and watching rebounds – combine those three elements with good energy and effort, and Keim said the Warriors will have the chance to be successful in the upcoming competition.