Gators battle past Raiders for third district win

Warren East played its most competitive district game yet, but Greenwood was able to prevail. 

In a matchup between the pair of District 14 foes, the Raiders didn’t make things easy on the Gators, but the visitors found a way to come away with a 71-52 win on Friday night at Warren East High School. 

Greenwood (11-7 overall, 3-1 District 14) led by just five at 19-14 after the opening quarter and it was tied 30-30 at halftime, but the Gators outscored Warren East 22-7 in the third quarter and remained in front throughout the fourth. 

“You know, whenever I use the phrase ‘trap game,’ it’s never a knock to the team we’re playing – it’s basketball,” Greenwood coach Will McCoy said. “This one made me nervous. I’ve watched these guys four times this year. I think their scores don’t tell the story of the team they actually are. They’ve got pieces that can really bother you.”

Four different Gators finished in double figures, led by Marc Grant’s 18 points. Alongside him, Cade Stinnett finished with 17 points, Parker Williams scored 13 and Noah Stansbury tallied 11.

“Just getting in rhythm, catching the ball in rhythm and being able to knock down shots and get going,” Grant said of the flow he had going. “Any district win on the road is a big win. We’ve just gotta get ready for ‘em next time at home.”

Ryan Carter led the Raiders (2-12, 0-3) with 14 points, and Tatum Simmons added 12. 

Warren East got off to a solid start and held an early 5-0 lead, but Greenwood found a rhythm and put together an 11-2 run to jump in front 11-7 at the 3:47 mark of the first quarter. The Gators’ run extended to 19-2, but the Raiders closed the period with a 7-0 spurt to only trail 19-14 after eight minutes of action. 

Logan Sanders’ basket brought Warren East to within 22-18 at the 6:31 mark of the second and triggered a Greenwood timeout, and a layup from Brytton Walker – followed by a pair of Jordan Jones free throws – evened the scoreboard at 27-27 with just over three minutes left in the half. 

Simmons knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Raiders up 30-27, but Grant answered with one of his own for the Gators to tie things at 30-30 at the break.

Grant was already up to 14 points after a pair of quarters, while Carter and Walker had each scored six points for Warren East. 

Greenwood opened the third quarter with four quick points to take a 34-30 lead and trigger a Warren East timeout, and back-to-back buckets by Williams and Grant made it 42-32 at the 4:05 mark.

“We obviously got ripped at halftime,” Stinnett said. “It was a rough start in the first half. We really just weren’t driving the ball and being aggressive. We thought we had the advantage guarding wise and we were settling, being too soft. Once we started driving and getting rebounds, that’s when we got our lead.”

Carter hit a tough turnaround jumper in the lane to bring the Raiders within 46-37, but Cade Stinnett scored in transition and Stansbury converted an and-one to put the Gators up 52-37 entering the fourth. 

The Raiders scored five quick points to open the final quarter – highlighted by a Simmons triple – to get within 52-42 with 7:13 remaining. Williams hit a pair of free throws to put Greenwood up 60-45, and although Simmons made another 3, the Gators were able to hold off East and come out on top. 

“We have a really tough week next week,” McCoy said. “We got Franklin (Simpson), we got (Warren) Central … but to go 3-1 in district play – it’s at least been seven years since that’s happened. It was big for us.”

Both teams return to action Tuesday as Greenwood hosts Franklin-Simpson and Warren East travels to Logan County. Both games are scheduled to tipoff at 7:30 p.m. 

GHS –       19   11   22   19   —   71

WEHS –    14   16    7    15   —   52

GW: Marc Grant 18, Cade Stinnett 17, Parker Williams 13, Noah Stansbury 11, Ben Carroll 6, Hunter Raymer 3, Peyton Loggins 2, Jamari Haskins 1. 

WE: Ryan Carter 14, Tatum Simmons 12, Brytton Walker 6, Jordan Jones 5, Kaleb Matlock 4, Logan Sanders 3, Simon Ghee 2, Brayden Wardlow 2, Sam Wheeler 2, Devaughn Williams 2. 

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