By Nick Hampton
WARNER — Not being very mannerly, the Hulbert Riders took advantage of the hospitality of the Warner Eagles, sweeping a pair of basketball games from the hosts at the Warner Event Center Friday night.
In the boys contest, the Eagles (1-1) graciously converted just 9 of 24 free throws, allowing the Riders to escape with a 47-44 victory.
“You won’t beat anybody with that kind of free- throw shooting,” said a disappointed Warner coach James Bliss. “We didn’t do a very good job of running our offense in the first half. In the second half we started getting some shots to fall but we weren’t consistent enough from the three point area.”
Hulbert’s quickness forced nine Warner turnovers in the first half and enabled the Riders to lead 23-16 at halftime. Hulbert was paced by the play of senior guard Chris Vance, who finished the game with 21 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the opening half.
“It was a fun game,” said Vance. “The guys around me did a good job of spreading the defense out and I was able to shoot from outside and drive inside.”
It was very physical game which seemed to play into the style of the Riders a little more. And despite losing two starters to fouls, Hulbert (1-1) managed to get enough off the bench to hang on at the end for the victory.
“That’s something we’ve stressed since we stated practice this year,” said first year coach Darren McCord. ”It’s not just one or two guys, but everyone contributing that’s going to make or break us.”
It looked like the Riders would cruise to the win as they held a 42-31 lead with just over three minutes to play in the game. But the Eagles fought back on the shooting of junior KT Parker, who had 12 of his team leading 14 points in the second half to help cut the Hulbert lead to 46-41 with :28 seconds to play.
He drained a three-pointer to narrow it to 46-44 with seven seconds left. Vance was fouled for the Riders and hit one of two free throws to make it 47-44 with five point four seconds left. The Eagles got the ball up the floor, but Grey Denton’s 20-footer bounced off the front of the rim at the buzzer to preserve the Rider win.
Besides Parker, Denton had eight points as did Tim Smithson for the Eagles. Craig Potts was the only other Rider in double figures with 10 points.
Hulbert 52, Warner 29
The Lady Riders used a stingy defense and the inside play of Lindsay Krueger to score the easy win.
Hulbert (2-0) forced 14 Warner turnovers in the first half. But with Krueger forced to the bench with foul problems, the Lady Eagles hung close, trailing just 21-16 at the half.
But when the 6-2 Krueger returned in the third quarter, the Lady Riders outscored Warner 16-6 to lead 37-24 after three quarters. Hulbert went on a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter and put the game away. Krueger led the Rider attack with 13 points as she muscled her way in the paint to score from close in.
“I thought our defense was pretty solid,” said a victorious Hulbert coach Rick Ott. “Krueger is hard to guard. “She’s big and strong and has a good touch on the ball.”
Krueger was joined in double figures by Tiffany Thompson with 11 points and Megan Cox with 10. Raven Girty scored 10 for the Lady Eagles (0-2) to lead their scoring while trying to contain Krueger in the paint.
Also for Hulbert, Allison Arnall barely missed a double-double with nine points and 11 steals.