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(Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)<br />
The Hamilton Christian Warriors defeated East Beauregard, 54-47 in District 4-1A play on Friday.

(Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
The Hamilton Christian Warriors defeated East Beauregard, 54-47 in District 4-1A play on Friday.

Hamilton wins district opener at home

Last Modified: Saturday, January 04, 2014 2:28 PM

By Troy LaFleur / American Press

The Hamilton Christian Warriors tipped off District 4-1A play on the right foot by downing the East Beauregard Trojans 54-47 on Friday night.

It was the first home game of the season for Hamilton, which notched a win over one of its two toughest district opponents.

“It was good to give our fans a preview of what we are capable of. We have been on the road since (football season),” said Hamilton Christian head coach Dexter Washington. “We are going to suit up and get ready for the next one, but it is one at a time in this tough district.”

The Warriors found themselves in a slump shooting from outside of the paint for most of the night, but dominated down low and went on to outrebound their opponents 29-20. Forward Julian Marcantel finished with a game-high 10 rebounds.

“Inside the paint I thought our guys did a very good of attacking the basketball on the rebound. It was very important that we didn’t give up the second shot tonight,” Washington said. “Julian Marcantel was phenomenal on the backboard. The way he plays on the backboard kind of rallies the other kids.”

“Overall I was pleased with our effort, but they killed us on the boards,” East Beauregard head coach David Reeves said.

The Warriors (10-6, 1-0) found themselves in a deadlock early when the Trojans (6-6, 0-1) slowed the game down and used their perimeter shooting advantage. They drained a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter to jump out to a 15-13 lead after the first 8 minutes.

The game remained close throughout the second quarter with Hamilton’s Chris Elly scoring eight points, and thanks to a last-second 3-pointer from Janquise Frank, the Warriors entered the locker room tied 28-28 with the Trojans.

“Hamilton Christian has got a good team, and we knew it was going to be tough to come in here and play, and we were a little disappointed that we weren’t up at halftime,” Reeves said. “They were struggling a little bit shooting from the outside, but we knew they would start hitting in the second half.”

“I think our kids were a little flat early, but they came out in the second half and turned it up. I think we ended up wearing them down, and thank God for that,” Washington said.

In the second half, the Warriors came out with a new defensive strategy, forcing the Trojans out of their comfort zone with a high-pressure full-court press. The plan worked as East Beauregard was limited to five points in the quarter while Hamilton kept its pace and took a 42-33 lead to end the third quarter.

“Our style is to figure you out, then see how your legs are, then we attack you full court,” Washington said. “That gave us some momentum and excitement.”

In the final 8 minutes, the Warriors slowed it down a bit, keeping the ball away from the Trojans.

Frank sank a pair of free throws in the game’s waning moments to preserve the win.

Frank and Elly each scored 13 while Kody Gamble added 12.

Leading the way for East Beauregard was Hunter Cooley with a game-high 19 points.

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