The Gateway Christian School varsity basketball teams hosted the Floyd High School Broncos on Friday.
First up were the Lady Warriors, and they defeated the visiting Lady Broncos with a final score of 46-21. Gateway got off to a hot start in the first quarter, going on a 14-4 run and keeping their ten-point lead by the end of the first half.
Gateway sophomore Kimber Balok scored ten points in the first quarter with a four-point help from sophomore Sara McConnell. Freshman Kadence Garcia put up five in the second quarter.
The Lady Warriors extended their lead to 20 by the end of the third quarter, shutting down Floyd’s offense to two points and continuing their offensive output in the fourth quarter by adding a 13-5 run.
Gateway junior Emily Martin scored ten points in the second half with help from sophomore Alyssa Fox and senior Susie Perry with four each. Balok also scored three points in the third with Brielle Dollar and freshman Kallie Wigley contributing two each in the fourth.
Lady Warriors head coach Holly Tipton said the young core played together as a team that night.
“They were doing their parts in offense and defense,” Tipton said. “They believed and had each other’s backs. We had our moments but overall, they did well.”
Senior MJ Stephens sat out the 2022-2023 season to focus on collegiate volleyball. Stephens was a key player in last year’s 18-3 season and Tipton said it had been a hard transition with only a handful of experienced players.
“My guards are young. You can’t shortcut guard play, and that’s been our transition,” Tipton said. “They’ve had good attitudes, and they have worked hard. We need to just keep on believing. Believe in what we can do and we’ll get there.”
This is Gateway’s third win of the season, snapping their three-game losing streak. The Lady Warriors continue their homestand playing Elida on Tuesday. Both teams won their first district games.
The Gateway boys played next and they lost against the Broncos with a final score of 39-29 Friday night.
The Broncos set the tone early in the game by going on a 7-1 run in the first and extending their lead to 10 by the end of the second half. Gateway had plenty of turnovers and forced shots during the first half and Gateway boys basketball head coach Aarmon Guillen said they let the visitors dictate the game's pace.
“We need to be more patient on offense and tonight I felt like we rushed a lot,” Guillen said. “I understand that we want to control the tempo but not everybody is on the same page. Usually, when that happens, that’s when we have turnovers and empty possessions. We did not play our defense. Our top guys, Ethaniel Wigley and Barton Pieratt, they forced guys to go left or right side but we just weren’t on the same page and it showed. We had pressure on the top but had no rotation at the bottom.”
The Warriors did close in on the Broncos in the fourth quarter, cutting their guest’s lead by eight but squandered their chances at the free throw line by missing ten of their 11 attempts.
“We weren’t playing our game, basically,” Guillen said. “The fact that this is the district opener and the boys remembered last year when this team knocked them out of the district. Emotions are going in and that played a part as well, making them want to play fast instead of slowing down. I’m not worried about it because it’s something that we can fix. We just need the guys to see that and buy into it.”
The Gateway boys are currently 2-12 for the season and are third in district play after this loss. The Warriors will play the Elida Tigers at home on Tuesday for their first meeting in a two-game district series.
Sports reporter Blynn Juliano Beltran can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.