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  My Site News: Cold Shooting Dooms Warriors, Fall to Yale, 53-38  

Friday, March 8
Cold Shooting Dooms Warriors, Fall to Yale, 53-38
Simmons’ Second Straight Triple-Double Wasted in Loss

The Warriors went into Friday’s semi-final match against Yale, confident that the only way they could lose was to beat themselves.

It happened.

The Warriors suffered their worst shooting performance of the season, and lost to a mediocre Yale team, 53-38. The Warriors jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and it looked good for the good guys. But some turnovers, and Yale’s ONLY 3-pointer of the game gave them the first quarter lead, 13-11. The Warriors went cold from the outside for the rest of the game.

The second quarter was what killed the Warriors. With Senior center Zach Simmons getting MURDERED in the paint – Coach Roberson finally had enough and protested until he drew a technical foul. That series gave Yale, who was having trouble scoring, because they did not have much of a half-court offense (basically one guard dribbling around and shooting whenever he felt like it – his dad, the coach, didn’t seem to mind), a 17-11 lead. Two consecutive turnovers by WHS gave Yale two layups and a 10-point lead, 21-11. The Bulldogs immediately started stalling, knowing that they could not play the powerful Warriors straight up. The Warriors scored 6, and the score at half time was 27-17.

Yale, which had proved lucky in beating OCS in the Area Final (a 30-foot prayer that went in to force overtime after being down by 14 in the 4th), luckier still in beating Crooked Oak in the quarter finals on Thursday (trailed the whole game until some NON-calls and CO turnovers GAVE them the lead in the last minute – plus they survived a wide-open last shot by CO), were even LUCKIER in the first half against our Warriors. They were holding and fouling Simmons in their 1-2-2 zone – and of course, the officials let them do it. The one time that Simmons got the ball and made a hard move to the basket, he was immediately called for an offensive charge. He was the piece that Yale could not handle, so the refs did it for them. It was extremely hard to watch, as Simmons played his heart out, getting his second consecutive Triple-Double in the State Tournament. Had the officiating been fair, he would have scored 40 points. As it was, his last game as a Warrior saw him cheated out of even getting to compete. Oh yes, several of Yale’s shots were the “throw-it-up-and-hope” variety – that of course went in. So, with all those factors – Warriors cold as ice; Simmons not allowed to play; Bulldogs shooting the game of their life; they had a 10-point lead. It was not earned. It was a gift.

At the half, WHS was 5 of 19 (26.3%) from the floor, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. I assure you, it was NOT the ferocious defense that was responsible, as Yale, knowing they could not play Simmons, set back in a tight zone the whole game. The Warriors had made 4 of 7 free throws, gotten 15 rebounds (5 offensive), been whistled for 8 fouls, and committed TEN very costly turnovers. The points-off-turnovers were basically what gave Yale the lead. Yale had 5 offensive rebounds, shot 6 free throws (including the 2 technicals), committed 9 fouls, and had made only ONE of 6 from 3-point range. That would be the only one they made – and it was a run down and throw it up from 25-feet before the defense could react. It wasn’t even part of any kind of offense.

Yes, it was luck. That is not an opinion, but fact. They were very poor shooting from 3-point range against Crooked Oak, but made 3 or 4. Also, the Warriors are a GREAT 3-point defensive team, holding opposing teams for the SEASON at around 24%. The Warriors held Latta to 2 of 13; Velma to 0-8; Carnegie to 3-13 and 2-13. Yale was lucky to finish 1 of 14. Those are the facts. It was a large dose of luck. The Bulldogs hit all sorts of runners (and layups off of Warrior turnovers) and the 25 footer, while the Warriors were as cold as ice.

The third quarter was not pretty. The officials made it abundantly clear that they were not going to let Simmons play – and he got no help the second half. Plus, the Bulldogs knew they could not stand up and play, so they basically danced around and stalled the entire half. Their little guard would dance around until he either threw up some sort of runner that bounced 8 times and went in, or he got stuffed by Simmons, or the refs bailed him out with free throws. The Warriors could just not generate any offense, and the closest the officials and frigid shooting would let them get was, 31-25. It was 35-25 at the end of the quarter, and the Bulldog players (one in particular) started grandstanding, and the classless Yale crowd started with unsportsman-like chants and jeers at the Warrior players.

The whole fourth quarter Yale never ran any offense. They just danced around and stalled and showboated for their mommies and daddies in the crowd. The officials made sure that there would be no comeback, as they called every single “touch” foul. They bailed out the undisciplined Bulldogs time after time, and it was a non-stop parade to the foul line – somewhat reminiscent of the Velma joke in the Area finals. The officials called a ghost foul on Simmons at the 2:25 mark and he fouled out. That was basically it, and the coach pulled all the other starters a minute later.

One more example of how much class Yale does NOT have: they shot a 3-pointer at the buzzer while up by 15.

The final was 53-38, and was the lowest point production of the year for the Warriors. But, of course, it had to be, or Yale would not have had a chance. If the Warriors had hit even 40% of their shots (with or WITHOUT Simmons), they win. Even shooting poorly, if the officials give Simmons a fair chance, the Warriors win. One more case of “whatever it takes for us to lose – happens!” Saddest of all – it cost the Warriors the season, too.

Zach Simmons was the story of the game, as once again, he was magnificent. He had 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots – DESPITE being fouled and held the whole game, DESPITE having to play virtually against SEVEN defenders. He played great, and he deserved much better than he received. Here’s hoping a long and successful college career for Zach to help make up for this travesty.

Sophomore guard Jeff Brewer was the only other Warrior in double-digits, as he hit 3 from 3-point range – but all were in the first half. He finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, and a couple of steals. As a team, WHS was 13/41 (31.7%) from the floor, including 4 of 12 (33.3%) from 3-point range. They made 8 out of 15 free throw attempts (53.3%), and gathered 46 rebounds – 15 offensive. The Warriors managed only 7 assists, but committed 24 turnovers – and the points off of those are what helped to kill them, as Yale struggled to score otherwise. Yale finished 1 of 14 from 3-point range, proving the earlier point about their shooting and the Warriors’ defense.

(The very next night Yale proved this writer’s point about luck – theirs ran out as they were beaten by Oklahoma Christian School in the Finals – as the officials did NOT bail them out, and OCS shot a solid percentage from the floor, and held the offensively-challenged Bulldogs to 50 points.)

So, the Warriors best season in school history ends like this – the Warriors have the worst shooting night of the season, the opponent has the best shooting night of his life, plus owns the officials, and this chapter in Warrior lore closes. The most frustrating thing is not ONCE this year did another team beat the Warriors – there was no team out there good enough. They beat themselves.

In a way, that’s more compliment than condemnation – and that’s how it’s meant. It was a great Warriors team – the first to have back-to-back State Tournament appearances; the highest ever ranking at #2; the best record at 23-3; and had the only State tournament win, reaching the semi-finals.

Congratulations Warriors on not only a great season, but THE Greatest!!

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

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