On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Winfield Warriors travelled to St. Charles to take on the Warriors of St. Charles West.
Winfield started the game strong, taking a slim, early lead, but SCW got themselves back into the game and the first half ended 16-5 in favor of SCW.
The second half was a different story.
Winfield came out and outscored SCW in the next two quarters to tie the game up at 42 and send it into overtime.
In overtime, Winfield outscored SCW 6-4 to win the game, 48-46.
Winfield coach Bryan Keim said that at the half time interval, he talked to his team about putting away their chances. And in turn, that would make life easier for his team on the other side of the ball as well.
“We just talked about finishing at the offensive end. We shot the ball well to start the first quarter, but went stagnant in the second quarter. It’s easier to play defense when we score. It allows us to get back and get set up. When we miss, we’re scrambling to recover and we gave up a few buckets in transition that we weren’t giving up with our half-court defense,” Keim said.
Keim has stated before that he and his team don’t like to put too much weight on the results of games, good or bad, but that this game was a little different, as his team clawed their way to a hard-fought victory.
“I think it’s safe to say that win was huge for us, especially coming off the whooping Monroe City gave us in the Clopton Championship,” Keim said. “I was worried about how we’d respond to that loss. The boys fought hard and found a way to win.”
Keim also pointed out the massive help that the big travelling Winfield crowd had in St. Charles. The atmosphere in the St. Charles gym, with a court which is set low into the ground, with steep bleachers surrounding it, like an ancient Greek gladiatorial arena, was alive with passionate support on either side.
“Huge shoutout to the Winfield community for showing out. They travelled with us and gave us great energy from the sidelines,” Keim said.
The Clopton Tournament that Keim mentioned previously was a tournament that Winfield made it all the way to the finals of.
Winfield beat Louisiana 68-52 and Clopton 59-45 on their route to the final. In the championship game, they fell to Monroe City 48-28.
Keim said that the game against Monroe City was the perfect warm-up for the SCW game.
“The Clopton Tournament didn’t end the way we’d liked, but playing in a championship game of a tournament against a really good team was important for us. That helps us become battle-tested down the road. I think playing Monroe before SCW was good for us. They made it extremely difficult to score and were really physical. That was something that benefited us in last night’s game,” Keim said.