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The Grant County Braves improved their record to 7-9 with a hard fought 61-50 win over Henry County Jan. 15.
Braves coach Jim Hicks was pleased with his players’ effort the entire week in practice before the game.
“We were 6-9 coming into this game,” he said. “We have worked as hard this week than any team I have coached in my career. These kids have worked their tails off. If we work that hard, we are just going to get better.”
Grant County (7-10) will face district rival Simon Kenton (10-6) Jan. 21 at Grant County High School. The last time these two teams faced each other, the games’ outcome was closer than what the 66-48 score indicates.
“I think the last time we played each other, that we could have beaten them,” junior guard Jalen Kinmon said. “We have been practicing really hard for the past few weeks and it has shown in our shooting. If we play with the same intensity as last time and shoot the ball better, we can get the win.”
The Braves should get their senior leader Josh Blackburn back this week, after suffering an ankle injury in practice, but Hicks is confident he will be back in the lineup.
“Josh could have possibly played against Henry County,” Hicks said. “He wasn’t able to practice the day before, so I wanted to rest him and let his ankle heal. He is very valuable to us and our leader. When he does come back, he is just going to make us better.”
In Blackburn’s absence, Hicks has seen individual improvement from all of his players. In the Henry County game, Kinmon, who scored 26 points.
Kinmon agrees with Hicks that the teams’ improvement comes from the intensity of the practices and better foul shooting.
“Our free-throw shooting has been coming along really well and I contribute that to repetition in practice,” he said. “We all shoot about 500 free-throws a week in practice.”
If you go to the Simon Kenton game, admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.