Despite being bombarded early by their opponent’s pinpoint shooting, the No. 3-seeded Calhoun Warriors remained composed. They went on to defeat the No. 11 West Central Cougars 66-53 in the first round of the Winchester Invitational Tournament on Saturday night.
“We’re still trying to find the secret recipe to play for 32 minutes,” Calhoun head coach Ryan Graner said.
Sam Barczewski led the Warriors with 16 points and Gus Baalman collected 14. Juniors Blake Booth and Mitchell Bick tallied 11 and 10 points respectively.
“It’s almost like whose up next for us,” Graner said. “Each game we’ve been led in scoring by so many different guys this year. That is one of the fun things about this team.”
Calhoun got out to a 10-5 lead in the first quarter, but West Central caught fire from beyond the arc and managed to sink eight three-pointers in the first half. They also shot well within the perimeter and from the baseline.
“We were where we needed to be, but it was just like we were half a step too slow getting to those spots,” Graner said. “We were close enough to the shooter, but it wasn’t a pressure contest.”
The Warriors were down 37-27 at halftime, but like all good teams, they came out with a clear plan.
“Three-pointers cannot continue to fall at that pace,” Graner said. “I told them that if we went out and won the first four minutes in the second half and made it a close ball game things could change.”
After those first four minutes Calhoun was on a 10-0 run and tied the game. West Central would only make one more three-pointer for the rest of the way. Since the Cougers’ shooting went cold they had to penetrate to the basket, which played into the Warriors’ favor with Baalman, Barczewski, and Wesley Klocke patrolling the paint. Calhoun limited West Central to just 16 points in the second half and held on late in the game for the victory.
“All in all pretty much it was a good team defensive effort,” Graner said.
Calhoun will take on the No. 6 seed Griggsville-Perry Tornadoes (10-4) in the tournament’s quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Text @RB to 618-202-4618 to sign up for Text Alerts from RiverBender!