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Braves outlast Demons 64-60

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By Matt Birkholtz

The game was nothing like the 87-41 defeat that the Demons were handed by Grant County last month, but it still was a loss as Grant County beat Williamstown 64-60 Jan. 4.

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A highlight for the Demons was the stellar play from junior guard Jake McKinley, who scored a career-high 30 points.

McKinley said he feels his strong effort came from playing against county-rival Grant County.

“I love playing Grant County,” he said. “I think most of my success came from my foul shooting and playing smart basketball.”

Demons coach Steve Sigmon knew that McKinley had the talent to put up 30 points in a game.

“That is the Jake McKinley I expected all year,” he said.

McKinley played the entire game for Williamstown and Sigmon said that was the reason behind them staying back on defense for the final two minutes of the third quarter.

“I was happy being down 10 in the third quarter,” Sigmon said. “If I took Jake out of the game, we wouldn’t have been able to run the ball down the floor.”

An improvement for the Demons was ball control as they had a season-low 13 turnovers on the night after coming into the game averaging almost 24 turnovers per game.

“The team played well tonight,” Sigmon said. “But we rode Jake’s shoulders the entire game.”

The Braves had three players in double figures, with junior guard Jalen Kinmon leading the way with 17 points. Josh Blackburn and Trevor Hunt had 12 points apiece.

“I like playing against Williamstown,” Kinmon said. “We’ve been playing against each other since the third grade.”

That scoring trio helped the Braves sweep the season series over the Demons and

Grant County coach Jim Hicks was pleased with his team’s balance and continued improvement.

“I knew going into the game it was going to be a different game and a different environment,” he said. “That game is a big rivalry and always will be.”

Hicks said his players didn’t shoot the ball real well, which with getting the win shows how strong the Braves defense was.

“I tell the kids that strong defense is the equalizer to our offense,” he said. “I thought the kids saw that even though we didn’t shoot the ball well, we still won.”

Hunt was happy with the win, but found some areas where the Braves need to improve.

“I felt we could have played harder on defense,” he said. “McKinley was having a terrific game and Colton Simpson was killing us inside, but we will take the win.”
Sigmon liked what he saw from his players, and was glad to be able to coach late into the ballgame.

“I was pleased with our boys,” he said. “It was fun coaching, I was in the game. When you are down 30 or 40 points, you just let the boys play.”

Next for Grant County is a home matchup with Henry County Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in a double-header with the Lady Braves. On Feb. 12, 2010 the Wildcats squeaked out a 49-48 win over the Braves.

For Williamstown, the Demons will head on the road to face Harrison County Jan. 15. Tip-off is set for 7:45 p.m.