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  My Site News: Washington Wins Battle of the Warriors, 64-54  

Thursday, February 21
Washington Wins Battle of the Warriors, 64-54

Warriors Defeat Namesakes in Regional, Apache Falls, 64-54

The Washington Warriors faced the Apache Warriors in the first round of Regional Playoffs Thursday night, at Washington. The visitors were currently ranked #19 in the latest Daily Oklahoman poll. The home team was still ranked #2.

The game, the last game of the season on the home floor, began with WHS posting up Senior center Zach Simmons, who was fouled while shooting and sank two free throws. From there, it was up in the air.

The first quarter was Washington desperately trying to give the Apache team a chance by throwing the ball all over the place. Turnovers not only kept the visitors IN the game, it was giving them the lead. WHS had 7 turnovers in 8 minutes of first quarter action. Our Warriors still managed a lead, 13-11, when Coach Roberson got a technical foul called on him by the officials. The coach was quite adamant (and quite correct) in his protestation that Apache was committing a walking violation on nearly every trip down the court – and every single player was involved. Apache managed a couple of technical free throws and the game was tied at 13 after one period. The Washington was not playing very well, and were letting a weaker opponent make a game out of it. WHS could score almost every time in the half-court offense, IF they would take care of the ball and work the offense.

The second quarter began with Apache taking a one-point lead, but saw the home team come back strong with a 10-2 run, to make the score at the 2:01 mark, WHS 28, Apache 20. BUT, the last two minutes of the half saw the visitors make an 8 – 4 run of their own, so the half time score was WHS, 32-28.

At half time, WHS was 13 of 23 FG’s (56.5%), including 2 of 5 (40%) from 3-point range. They were 4 of 6 (66.7%) from the free throw line, had committed 10 turnovers, and had been whistled for 10 fouls. Apache had attempted 10 free throws, committed 8 fouls, grabbed 3 offensive rebounds, and made 3 of 9 (33.3%) attempts from 3-point range. Zach Simmons was leading with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Senior point guard Nathan Price followed with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

The third quarter saw better play by the home Warriors, and they opened up a little lead after Apache managed to tie the game at 34 at the 6:14 mark, then actually take the lead, 37-36, at the 5:30 mark. The last four minutes of the period saw our Warriors make a 10-3 run to finish out the quarter on top, 48-41. The Warriors’ offense was proving quite potent when properly worked, and Apache had NO 3-point field goals made in only 3 attempts.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Washington Warriors. They held Apache scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the period. Apache finally broke the drought by BANKING in a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 4:33 mark. (That always seems to happen TO us.) The Warriors’ first double-digit lead had just preceded that at 51-41. WHS managed some more turnovers, missed a few key free throws, and kept Apache’s hopes alive. Apache was getting every conceivable break, from NEVER being called for traveling, to having offensive rebounds bounce right into their hands. WHS would miss an easy layup, and the Apache would come down and just throw it up (or so it seemed) and it would bounce around the rim and fall in.

While the visitors DID manage to make three 3-point field goals in the quarter, the Washington defense would not allow them any good shots as the game closed out. The visitors helped tremendously when they kept taking the 2-point field goal attempts the hosts were permitting them – instead of trying to cut the lead by making 3-pointers. SO, Apache would foul, WHS would get two points, then Apache would go down on offense and the player (usually #5) would go one-on-one (while the other four players on his team stood and watched) and shoot two-pointers – which the wise Washington veterans allowed. It was unbelievable to watch as the player dribbled away any chance of victory for the sake of his personal point total.

WHS wins, 64-54, despite playing poorly, and the opponent getting all the breaks.

For the game, the Washington Warriors shot 24 of 42 (57.1%) from the floor, including 2 of 5 (40.0%) from the 3-point line. They made 14 of 20 (70%) of their free throw attempts, grabbed 33 rebounds (5 offensive), handed out 19 assists, committed 14 turnovers (7 in the first quarter), blocked 12 shots, and were called for 15 fouls. Apache ended up shooting 6 of 21 (28.6%) from 3-point range, hauling down 14 offensive rebounds, committing 19 fouls, and attempting 14 free throws.

Zach Simmons was the player of the game as he registered his 3rd Triple-Double of the season. He was the leading scorer with 22 points, on 9 of 10 from the field, leading rebounder with 12, and leading shot blocker with 10. He added 3 assists to that and committed only 2 fouls. Nathan Price was next with 15 points, to which he added 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 6 assists. Following him was Senior forward Dustin Nichols with 11 points, 6 rebounds and two VERY nice blocked shots – both in transition that took layups away from Apache. The scoring closed out as Sophomore guard Jeff Brewer had 9, Senior forward Tyler Ketner had 6, and Senior guard Rob Young had 1 point.

This one goes down in the books as a “W”, but a cold start kept the Warriors from putting it away much earlier. They were clearly the superior team, but turnovers hurt them badly, especially in the beginning of the game. This trend will HAVE to change if the Warriors are to advance past Regionals. They did a good job of defending the 3-point line. While the visitors did make 6 of them, they were not a major factor that they could have been. One other point of concern was the 14 offensive rebounds Apache earned. They were quick and active on the boards, and got several second-chance points.

As it is, the Washington Warriors go on to play Carnegie on Saturday, the 23rd, in the Regional Championship in the Great Plains Coliseum in Lawton.

Game time is 8:00 p.m.

(For complete statistics, go to HANDOUTS, in the left menu column, and click on this game’s link.)

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