MIDDLETOWN, Ind. — During the junior varsity game, the Shenandoah varsity squad sat behind the home bench, each player dressed in khakis, a white dress shirt, gold tie and a navy blue sport coat.
But when it came down to business, it was the team in all black that claimed victory as the Winchester Golden Falcons defeated the Raiders 59-56.
Shenandoah dominated the first half and seemingly was well on its way to capturing its fourth victory of the season, but an 8-0 run by the Falcons tilted the momentum towards Winchester and shrunk its deficit to four after it was 10 at the half.
“It was a tough one,” Shenandoah coach Aaron Cain said. “(The run) kind of got us on out heels a little bit, but I thought we responded.”
Slowly the Falcons clawed their way closer, finally tying it at 47 with three minutes to play in the game. Neither team was able to string together buckets to take control.
“We had to think about it more,” Raider guard Kyle Dimick said.” We know we just need to run our stuff no matter what. Take good shots when we are up 20, take good shots when we are down 20.”
Then sloppiness set in at the most inopportune time for the Raiders after they had forced more turnovers than they committed.
With just under a minute showing on the clock, Shenandoah held a slim 51-50 lead and was set to inbound the ball, which they did successfully.
“That is something that we talk about — taking care of the ball and not getting in a hurry in that situation,” Cain said.
The Falcons forced a turnover which led to a Kiante Enis layup and a Falcon lead. Within seconds, another forced turnover led to another layup and a three-point lead, which was not relinquished.
“The press really got to us in the second half,” Dimick said. “The got us and it got us off guard.”
A late three by Dimick gave the Raiders hope, but that quickly faded after a free throw by Winchester was followed by a missed Jared Wininger three.
Wininger, Raiders leading scorer entering the game averaging 14 points, had nine first-half points, but was held scoreless from the field in the second, only scoring a single point on a free throw.
Dimick, who averaged 10.5 points, led the way for Shenandoah with 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
“(The turnovers) is just something that happened,” Cain said. “We have to learn from it and grow and move on. As long as we learn from it—it just happened. No one wanted it to, it just did.
“It was a frustrating loss.”