Warriors hold off Patriots for win

Stephanie King

The Providence Grove Patriots returned to action on Tuesday when they hosted the Wheatmore Warriors in PAC-7 play. Both teams had strong showings at the Courier-Tribune Christmas Invitational over the break and look to carry that momentum into the second half of the season. The Patriots came into Tuesday’s match-up 1-3 in conference play and 5-9 overall, while Wheatmore was 0-1 in conference play and 7-5 overall on the season.

Wheatmore got off to a hot start as Ben Walker drilled a three to give the Warriors the early lead. Mason Collins scored down in the post to put the Patriots on the board before Gavin Dennis knocked down a jumper giving the Warriors a 5-2 lead. Luke Thomas knocked down a three to tie the game at five-all but the Warriors regained control on another three from Walker. Zach Berrier scored off a steal to push the Warriors’ lead to five. Providence Grove answered with a three from Michael Fee and a bucket from Collins to tie the game at ten-all. The teams traded buckets to leave the game tied before a three from Dennis put the Warriors on top 15-12.

A floater from Fee cut the lead to one, but back to back threes from Berrier pushed the Warriors’ lead to seven. After a free throw from Questin Overman, Jonathan Foust went up strong for the fastbreak dunk cutting the lead to four. Jake Tuggle drilled a three for the Warriors but Foust answered with another breakaway dunk cutting the lead back to five. He pulled the Patriots within two moments later with a three from the corner before Tuggle closed the quarter at the free-throw line. After one complete quarter, Wheatmore held a 25-22 lead over Providence Grove.

Foust knocked in one at the line to cut the lead to two before another three from Berrier extended the Warriors’ lead to five. After a putback from Foust, Wheatmore went on a 7-0 run to take a 35-25 lead early in the quarter. Dawson Lee scored on a circus shot and Foust added two more to cut the lead to six before a free throw from Austin Biggs extended the lead back to seven. A pair of free throws from Foust pulled the Patriots within five, but Wheatmore answered with a three from Tuggle.

The Patriots never wavered as Overman drained back to back to threes to cut the lead to two. Another three from Tuggle gave the Warriors some breathing room before Biggs added a bucket to push the lead to seven. Lee scored on a putback for the Patriots, but Biggs answered with a pair of free throws for the Warriors. Providence Grove trimmed the lead to four on a three from Overman before Berrier ended the quarter with a straight drive to hoop for two. At halftime, Wheatmore led 48-42 over Providence Grove.

The Warriors pushed their team to eight at the start of the third quarter before Foust scored on back to back putbacks to cut the lead to four. A bucket from Berrier extended the lead to six, but Providence Grove answered with a bucket from Collins. Tuggle and Walker knocked down back to back buckets to give the Warriors a 56-48 lead. Overman caught fire knocking down three threes during an 11-0 Patriots run that gave them their first lead of the night at 59-56. Tuggle and Biggs combined to go five of five at the line to put the Warriors back in front. Biggs added a bucket down low to give Wheatmore a 63-59 lead. Both teams went two for two at the line to end the quarter with the Warriors leading 65-61.

Tuggle extended the Warriors lead to seven at the start of the fourth before he was called for a technical sending the Patriots to the line. Fee knocked in one of the free throws before Biggs answered with a free-throw on the other end. Fee scored four straight to cut the lead to three early in the quarter. Midway through the quarter, the Warriors outscored the Patriots 6-2 for a 75-68 lead. After a bucket from Collins, the Warriors went on a 6-0 run for an eleven-point lead. Collins ended the run with a free-throw to cut the lead to ten -with just over one minute -left to play. Dennis and Biggs combined to go four for four at the line to close out the game giving the Warriors an 85-71 win.

Leading the way for the Warriors was Jake Tuggle with 28 points. Zach Berrier finished with 21 points and Austin Biggs added 19. For the Patriots, Jonathan Foust led with 22 points. Questin Overman notched 19 points and Mason Collins finished with 13.

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