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  My Site News: Warriors Defense Carries Day Over Latta, 44-32  

Thursday, March 7
Warriors Defense Carries Day Over Latta, 44-32
Simmon’s Triple-Double Sparks Warriors Win

The Warriors played in the State Quarterfinals Thursday afternoon in Norman versus the Latta Panthers. It was the first game in the state tournament, with the loser going home for the year.

The first quarter was slow, as both teams seemed a little tight as action began. The 6:30 mark saw the game’s first points when Senior center Zach Simmons hit two free throws. No one scored again until Latta scored their first point at the 3:52 mark hitting one of two free throws. The Warriors got a bucket from Simmons, but then the Panthers hit a 3-pointer, tying the game at 4. At the 1:16 mark, Latta took their first lead, 6-4 on a pair of free throws. Simmons scored just before the buzzer, and the opening period ended 6-6. Simmons had all six points on his way to a MONSTER game that included a Triple-Double.

Latta scored the first four points of the second quarter, taking their biggest lead of the game at 10-6. Senior point guard Nathan Price, a Norman native, hit two free throws at the 5:41 mark to tie it at 10. Forty seconds later Price, who would end up as the game-high scorer, hit a jumper to put WHS up to STAY. The only other interesting point of the period was when a stumbling Panther fell down in front of Price and he was assessed a charge – which gave him 3 fouls, forcing him to the bench for the half’s last minute.

At the half, WHS was up 21-18, but feeling very good about their defense. WHS was 7 of 15 (46.7%) from the floor, including 0 for 1 from 3-point range. They were 7 of 8 (87.5%) from the free throw line, had committed 7 fouls (3 by Price), and had 6 turnovers. Simmons was the leading scorer with 8 points, to which he added 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Price was next with 6 points, but was saddled with 3 early fouls. Latta had been called for 8 fouls, gotten 7 offensive rebounds, shot 5 free throws, and converted only 1 of 6 on 3-point shots.

The third quarter was a defensive struggle that the gutsy, disciplined Warriors won, 8-2. That’s right! They held Latta to only TWO points the entire third quarter! At the 5:20 mark, Sophomore guard Jeff Brewer hit a 3-pointer (WHS only) to put them up, 25-20. Thirty seconds later Price hit a jumper to put them up 27-20. After a Panther timeout, the Warriors scored again to go up, 29-20, which was how the quarter ended.

The fourth quarter saw the first Warrior double-digit lead at the 7:45 mark, 31-20, when Price hit another jump shot. The Panthers finally scored, and at the 6:21 mark, it was WHS up, 33-22. The closest the Panthers came was at the 4:24 mark when they cut the lead to 7, at 34-27. A couple of minutes later the Warriors reestablished their 10-point lead on a free throw by Price. The Panthers did hit a 3-pointer (their only of the half), but the Warriors held on to win it, 44-32, winning the first ever State Tournament game in Washington Boy’s basketball history.

For the game, it was Zach Simmons. He was awesome! He got only 8 shot attempts and scored only 13 points (6 below his average), but he had 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots – controlling the paint all night long. Price was the game-high scorer with 14 points, and he added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal – and played the entire second half foul-free. Senior forward Dustin Nichols came off the bench to score 9 points and grab 7 rebounds, and play some terrific defense. Jeff Brewer was the only other Warriors to score, as he hit the only WHS 3-pointer and finished with 8 points, along with 2 assists and 2 steals.

Overall, WHS was 14 of 30 (46.7%) from the floor, including 1 of 2 from 3-point range. They shot 15 of 22 (68.2%) from the free throw line, had 31 rebounds (6 offensive), 9 assists, 6 steals, 10 turnovers, and committed 14 fouls. Latta finished with 12 offensive rebounds, 10 free throws attempted, 19 fouls called, and shot only 2 of 13 (15.4%) from beyond the 3-point line. The Warriors defense was simply outstanding.

The Warriors play #1 Ranked Yale tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at Oklahoma City University in OKC. The Bulldogs were 1-point survivors in the late afternoon game over Crooked Oak, 65-64. The winner advances to the State Final on Saturday, the loser’s season is over.


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

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