Following the Daleville Warhawks’ appearance in the Dothan Hoops Classic in December, the Warhawks returned home for back-to-back games against Straughn and Dale County on Jan. 3-4.
In the first matchup, Daleville picked up a resounding 65-48 win over Class 3A’s Straughn Tigers on Jan. 3.
Daleville was led by four Warhawks that scored in double digits as junior Sincere McKenzie scored 10 points, junior Peanut Bloodsaw scored 14, sophomore Tomar Hobdy scored 13 points and junior Bryan Beckwith scored 12 points in the win.
Daleville followed that game up with a frustrating 59-46 loss to Dale County on Jan. 4 despite having led by as many as 13 points at one point.
The Warhawks jumped out to an early 12-2 lead in the first quarter before Dale County was able to narrow the Warhawk lead to 16-12 heading into the second quarter.
The Warhawks still took a 26-19 lead into halftime but the Warriors managed to outscore Daleville 20-13 in the third quarter to tie the game up 39-39 leading into the final period.
Dale County owned the fourth quarter, outscoring Daleville 20-7 with 13 of those points coming at the free throw line.
“They started trapping us and we let it bother us and just stopped running our offense,” Daleville coach Blake Garner said. “We took hurried shots, missed free throws, played selfish on offense, didn’t play (good) defense, they got all the loose balls and we didn’t hit our free throws.”
Daleville, on the other hand, struggled to knock down free throws and converted just 7-of-17 attempts.
Dale County also outrebounded the Warhawks 45-37 and Daleville connected on just 17-of-57 field goal attempts.
Garner came into the Dale County game confident after some solid performances over the last month.
“I felt good after the Hoops Classic and the Straughn game because I thought we had turned the corner,” he said. “We put two games playing really good defense together, but tonight – basically after the six minute mark of the first quarter – we didn’t look like anything like what we’ve looked up until this point.”
Garner put the blame for the loss on himself but said his team’s mental toughness has to get better moving forward.
“We have to get better with our mental toughness and it all starts with rebounds,” he said. “We get outrebounded – with the exception of about three games this year – every week. It can be done but we’re just not doing it.
“I didn’t expect us to play like this. Losing is one thing but when you lose like the way we did it’s another thing. I told the boys that I put this one all on me but we have to get tougher mentally.”
Daleville was led by Hobdy with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Bloodsaw contributed 11 points, four steals, seven rebounds and two assists in the loss. Beckwith also scored nine points – all on three-pointers – and grabbed six rebounds. Senior Melvin Matthews also brought down 10 rebounds with six points.
The Warhawks will look to get things back on track with a road matchup against Cottonwood on Jan. 9.