By DAN FOX
Bad weather has been an issue for basketball coaches in Lincoln County with game cancellations and missed practices hurting the flow of the season, and Winfield is no exception.
Following the Warrior’s win in their rematch against Elsberry, Coach Bryan Keim the snow days have prevented the team from riding the momentum of that victory like he’d hoped.
The team’s more recent game against Warrenton on Jan. 18 was a tough loss, but as the Warriors geared up for the Bowling Green tournament last week, Keim was hopeful for good work from the boys. There have been some stumbling blocks through the season that the boys have been working to overcome.
Heading into the season, Keim said he had expectations that the team would be deadly from the three-point line, and despite a few games where that has been the case, the boys have been lacking the good consistency needed to push into the next level.
“It is something that we will continue to do as we don’t have any size to throw the ball inside to,” Keim said in an email. “We have also emphasized being more aggressive attacking the rim off the dribble. Our speed and quickness is our asset, so we must rely more on that and getting shots closer to the rim.”
The Warriors have around 10 games left in the season, and before the end Keim said the boys have been putting more emphasis on defense. When they aren’t shooting, the Warriors have to “rely on our defense to keep us in games.”
“When we’re really going well it’s because our defense is good,” Keim said.
While a lack of really tall players hurts the Warriors, they are still dangerous from the amount of contributors on the team. Keim said other teams can’t bank on taking out just one player to weaken the Warriors, since the team has multiple guys that can “fill up a score sheet.”
“We’ve had several games this year with a different leading scorer, which makes us tough to play against,” Keim said.
Conversely, in the conference games, Keim said a big challenge Winfield faces is that almost all the conference opponents have at least one dominant player. The strategy for the Warriors will be to slow those top players down, make it tough for the opposing teams and give themselves a shot. As the team entered the Bowling Green Tournament last week, Keim said it would be an important couple of games to help get back into a groove of playing.
“All of the snow days we’ve had and not being able to practice or play on those days has gotten us out of the basketball rhythm,” Keim said. The first game in the tournament was “frustrating,” as the team was only able to get a single practice in on a Saturday, right after a Friday-night game, and couldn’t practice before their match against Elsberry on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
“We struggled with consistency and keeping up our tempo against Elsberry,” Keim said after the game. “Their size definitely plays a huge factor in how we want to play and not shooting it particularly well is bad when other teams have size.”
The game had a silver lining, however, was some of the younger players were able to get in, step up and put in good performances against the Indians.
Keim said they were geared up to fight hard against Silex Thursday night, Jan. 24, with the goal of making the consolation match Saturday.
Tourney results available at lincolncountyjournal.com.