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  My Site News: Warriors Lose Foul-Fest to Velma-Alma, 75-64  

Friday, March 1
Warriors Lose Foul-Fest to Velma-Alma, 75-64
The Warriors played Velma-Alma in the Area Championship Friday night at the Great Plains Coliseum in Lawton. The Comets had the reputation of a poor shooting team that made its living on the free throw line. They had no real height, so their post game on both offense and defense was non-existent. As the game proved out, VA survived on layups and a mind-boggling 43 free throw attempts. If THAT figure astounds you, understand that 34 of them were in the 4th quarter alone. While it would be easy to point out the extremely poor officiating – which basically gave a poor offensive team a chance – it was the Warrior’s usually stingy defense that let them down. An un-official estimate would be that the Comets made at least a dozen layups.

The first quarter started out slow, which has been the norm lately for the Warriors. The 6:22 mark saw the first score, as WHS went on top, 2-0. WHS shot some 3-pointers early in the game, making none, instead of working to their advantage in the post with 6-7 Senior center Zach Simmons. At the 4:38 mark, VA was up, 4-3, and WHS was 1 of 5 FGs, 2 of the misses being from behind the arc. The officials quickly showed their colors as if they knew that VA would have to have their help. The 3:00 minute mark saw the Comets up, 11-3, and the Warriors already saddled with SIX fouls – including 2 very cheap calls on Simmons. Because of foul trouble, and the fact that VA could not shoot outside, the Warriors went to a 2-3 zone defense, abandoning their man-to-man. VA was given 3 layups, which was the difference in a quarter which ended with Velma-Alma on top, 15-9.

The second quarter saw the Comets stretch their lead to 9, but the Warriors cut it back to 5 as Simmons started getting involved – as the Comets started a non-stop bodily assault on him. He would end up shooting 18 free throws in the game. Simmons got his first basket at the 3:50 mark of the period – a fact that would come back to haunt them. More of the same with VA’s offense – layups and free throws. The Warriors inability to keep the Comets from penetrating for layups was the killer. The period ended with VA up, 29-24.

At halftime, the Warriors were 8 of 26 (30.8%) from the floor, including 1 of 6 (16.7%) from 3-point range. They were 7 of 11 (63.6%) from the free throw line, had been called for 10 fouls, and had committed 3 turnovers. Zach Simmons had 9 points, Sophomore guard Jeff Brewer had 5 points, Senior forwards Dustin Nichols and Tyler Ketner had 4 points each. VA had 5 offensive rebounds, had been whistled for 11 fouls (most while beating on Simmons), had attempted 9 free throws – and were a typical 0 for 6 from 3-point range.

The third quarter started out as the Warriors pounded the ball into Simmons for 4 quick points that cut the lead to 1, 29-28.

That’s when the wheels fell off. Basically the next minute cost the Warriors the game.

After taking all the momentum and cutting the lead to only one point, with the Comets unable to make an outside shot, OR defend Simmons – the Warriors had back-to-back turnovers that the Comets converted into uncontested layups. Game, set and match.

The Warriors fell increasingly behind, and the officials kept their whistles hot. The quarter ended with the Warriors behind, 33-45.

The fourth quarter was frenetic, as basically it was the Warriors trying to catch up and the referees providing the Comets with an endless parade to the free throw line. Velma shot a history-making THIRTY-FOUR free throws in the quarter!! As the Warriors were pressing, trying for steals, the refs were calling touch and phantom fouls – just like they would call if a team was intentionally trying to foul.

It was really unbelievable. The loss required a history-making performance by the officials - and they obliged.

The Warriors did manage to make a game of it, hitting four 3-pointers, but the deluge of fouls started seeing players foul out – starting with Jeff Brewer at the 4:40 mark. Of course, it was a very cheap call – just like the vast majority seen in the quarter. But, it seemed that every time the Warriors would cut into the lead – they would give up a layup, the only shot that Velma could make. Oh, they did throw in 2 or 3 circus-shots – ones where the guy would basically fall down and throw it at the rim and it would of course bounce around and in.

The 1:41 mark saw the Warriors cut the deficit to 5, at 66-61, but from there on, it was basically WHS trying to launch off-balance 3-pointers, and more Comet free throws. The outstanding memory of the final minute was the Velma-Alma crowd showing how they had no class – that they were right up there with last year’s Carnegie crowd.

They started chanting “over-rated!” I guess they hadn’t been watching the game.

But, no class obviously knows no bounds.

The coach cleared the bench with 15 seconds left as all 14 players got in the game. The final score was VA 75, WHS 64.

For the game, WHS was 21 of 58 (36.2%) from the field, including 5 of 20 (25%) from 3-point range. They shot 23 free throws (making 17 for 73.9%), but 18 of them were by Zach Simmons who got pounded all night long. It was as if the only Warrior that could draw a foul was Zach. The rest of the Warriors got grabbed, shoved, held all game long – but were denied equal opportunity (which is usually the way it works for our team). The Warriors were called for 35 fouls – which was completely necessary for Velma’s offense.

Zach Simmons led all scorers with 25 points, including 13 of 18 from the charity line. He added 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocked shots. Dustin Nichols came off the bench with 15 points, including a couple of 3-pointers, and 8 rebounds. Senior point guard Nathan Price was the only other double-digit scorer with 10.

Velma finished without a 3-pointer, going 0-8. They shot a record 43 free throws, including 34 in the fourth quarter alone (History in the making). They were called for 22 fouls – most of them for mugging Simmons.

The game, even though Velma-Alma shot a Christmas-like 43 free throws, was decided on the Warriors inability to stop the Comets from getting layups – either in half-court or off of turnovers. While the Warriors had only 13 turnovers, they gave up at least 15 points off of them. The Comets could NOT shoot the ball – as they well evidenced – and the Warriors gave them the only two kinds of shots they could make: layups and free throws. Despite the staggering disparity in free throws, the Warriors still could have, no should have, won this game had they not given the layups.

The Warriors play for their season Saturday night in the Area consolation final versus Carnegie. If they lose, their season is over. If they win, they still go to the State Tournament next week.

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

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