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Blackburn’s 31 points not enough for Braves

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By Matt Birkholtz

The Grant County Braves were unable to dig out of an early hole to upset Owen County, as they fell 73-67 Feb. 5.

Braves senior Josh Blackburn set a new career high with 31 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Blackburn also was perfect from the free-throw line shooting 12-of-12.

“It’s a career high, but that is not what I’m worrying about, because we still got the loss,” he said.

Blackburn said that in the past four or five games that the Braves have had a slow start to the beginning of the game and that it hurt their chances against the Rebels.

“We fought hard, but on a couple of possessions we took some bad shots,” Blackburn said. “We played smart, but we had some dumb plays when it was crucial.”

Grant County would have a lead in the third quarter, but were unable to hold it as Owen County took a five-point lead into the final quarter and was able to pull out the win.

For coach Jim Hicks he said that the Braves are still trying to close out games after getting behind early.

“We got to do a better job late in games,” he said. “We have done better here lately, but against Owen County we didn’t do a good job executing late on offense with shooting.”

Even though the game looked like it was being carried on the shoulders of Blackburn and Andrew Hurley, who contributed 12 points, Hicks said that it’s not the case for this team every game.

“Josh is not carrying the whole load,” he said. “He had a big game, but we score by committee.”

That doesn’t stop Hicks from complimenting the effort that Blackburn has brought to this team this season and during his four years at Grant County.

“He is a fine young man,” he said “He has been a leader for us.”

The Braves will return home Feb. 17 for Senior Night to celebrate the career of Blackburn, the lone senior of this year’s team.

“I just look at it as another game,” he said. “It doesn’t say Blackburn on the jersey. It says Grant County Braves. It is special to me, but I just want to go out there and get a win.”

Grant County will face Lloyd Memorial. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.