By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
January 6, 2014
The LaGrange Academy basketball teams have each played eight games, but they’re starting over today.
The Warriors and Lady Warriors will kick off their GISA Region 4-AA schedules today when they visit Griffin Christian.
LaGrange Academy’s teams will then be at home on Friday to face rival Flint River.
The Warriors bring a 5-3 record into today’s game, while the Lady Warriors are 2-6.
The Lady Warriors are coming off a tough loss to Trinity Christian on Saturday.
Trailing by three points late, Trinity Christian tied it before going on to win in overtime.
In the closing moments, a Trinity Christian shooter was not only fouled while shooting a 3-pointer, but a LaGrange Academy player was called for a technical foul.
The Trinity Christian player was awarded five free-throw attempts, and she made three of them to pull her team even and force overtime.
“We did almost everything right Saturday until the very end,” LaGrange Academy coach Mike Petite said. “We made one mistake.”
Since opening the season with a 2-1 record, the Lady Warriors have dropped five straight games, but Petite feels the team is making progress.
“The team work, and the chemistry and everything has been here,” Petite said. “If we can get a ballgame under our belt, we might catch fire here.”
The Warriors, meanwhile, have won three straight games since suffering a two-point loss to Calvary Christian on Dec. 13.
In Saturday’s game against Trinity Christian, the Warriors struggled offensively until they found their rhythm in the fourth quarter on the way to a 47-36 win.
“It was one of those games where you’re getting back into the swing of things,” LaGrange Academy coach Britt Gaylor said. “We played really well in the second half. We actually did a great job defensively. We were a little bit rusty on offense, but we got going in the second half. In the fourth quarter, we scored 23 points. We played really well in the fourth quarter.”
While Chase Wardlaw is leading the team with an impressive 28 points per game, Daniel Wardlaw is also having a strong season with 16 points per game.
“I don’t think he’s option two, I think he’s option 1B,” Gaylor said of Daniel Wardlaw. “He’s helped us be able to stretch the defense out knocking down 3-pointers and everything. And what I’ve been impressed with with Daniel is his rebounding. He had a double-double the other night, he had 13 boards against Trinity. He just keeps getting better.”
Gaylor also said Jamie Zuburnis and Zach Callaghan have played well this season.
Gaylor said Zuburnis “does every little thing that I ask him to do”, and that Callaghan has “taken on the role of helping Chase handle the ball. He’s getting us in a position where Chase doesn’t have to play point guard the entire game. He’s running the show, he’s getting us into what we need to get into. He’s also been scoring for us.”
As for today’s game, it’ll be a tough one.
Griffin Christian won the region last season, and it has another strong team this year.
Gaylor said the team is embracing the challenge.
“We’re aiming to beat Griffin Christian,” Gaylor said. “It’s going to be a good test for us to see where we’re at.”