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A little more than a month ago, with his team in the midst of a four-game losing streak, Grant County junior Cody Kinman made a bold statement, "We have not played to our potential, but come district time we should be ready, and I think we are going to shock the 8th region this year."
Fast forward one month later, and it appears as if Kinman's words are beginning to ring true as Grant County will enter the 32nd District Tournament not only with some momentum, but with quality wins against region opponents Gallatin County, Henry County and Carroll County.
"Our loss to Oldham County was the turning point," Kinman said, referring to the Braves' 48-37 loss on Jan. 29. "Everybody has stepped up since then, and this is some people's last chance at playing high school basketball. We want to send them out as winners."
On Monday, Feb. 25, the Braves will get another chance to shock the district and region when they host Simon Kenton at 8 p.m. in the first round of the 32nd District Tournament.
This season, the Pioneers have defeated Grant County 86-53 and 86-63, however, the Braves are confident in their ability to upset Simon Kenton and advance to the regional tournament. Since 1999, Grant County has been to the regional tournament six times. In 2003, the Braves won the district tournament, and in 2006, the Pioneers and Grant County met in the district final with Simon Kenton earning a 76-60 victory.
"I am glad we got them when we did. We want to get them out of the way first," Kinman said.
Fellow junior Kody Thompson believes the game against Simon Kenton is a "good opportunity" for the Braves.
"We'd have to play them anyway, and this is a chance to take care of them early. We have to continue playing like we have been if we are going to win, and that means playing like a team, sharing the basketball and playing with a lot of confidence. We know individuals do not win basketball games," Thompson said.
Junior Sean Henry said if the Braves planned on winning the district tournament, they would have to contend with Simon Kenton eventually.
"To be the best, you have to beat the best," senior Lucas Sharp said.