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Commanders still looking for season’s first victory

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By The Staff

By Jimmie Earls

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Sun Sports Writer

The Washington County Commanders got to break in that “new season smell” as the 2009/10 basketball season got under way last Tuesday with WC on the road at Taylor County. The host Cardinals weren’t very hospitable to their guests, as they handily won, 62-23.

WC hit a three-pointer early to lead 3-1, but it was all Taylor County from that point.

“I knew this was going to be a test for us, especially with all the young kids I have,” said WC head coach Russell Burkhead. “We just couldn’t seem to put the ball in the basket. I think we were up 7-5, then they were ahead 28-9, and it just snowballed from there. We just didn’t do a good job of setting our offense, setting screens and finding the open man. We’re concentrating more this year on trying to get the ball down on the block more, to get it to our big guys. We haven’t done a good job of that and that comes from inexperience. A lot of these kids are learning on the job.”

Commander sophomore Trae Abell led WC scoring with seven points, followed by Conner Riney with five, Marcus Elswick with four, three points from Joseph Hamilton and two each from Harrison Simms and Steven Sexton. Abell, Hamilton and Riney each had one three-point basket.

The Commanders had no time to waste as they headed to Spencer County the next night to face the Bears.

Although WC narrowed their opponent’s margin of victory, they fell to Spencer County, 68-41.

“The score didn’t show it, but we played better against Spencer County,” Burkhead added. “I just think you’ll see us get a lot better as the year goes on.”

Hamilton reached double figures in scoring with 10 points. Abell tallied nine, while Will Purdom had six.

Ben Simms and Qwan Turner each had four points, while Harrison Simms and Elswick each had three. De’Andre Walker had two points for WC.

Abell and Hamilton each had a pair of treys on the night.

For the first time this season, the Washington County Commanders donned their white home jerseys as they played host to the North Bullitt Eagles this past Saturday.

The Eagles outscored the Commanders 14-5 in the first quarter, but WC did have some promising moments. They managed to outscore North Bullitt 16-14 in the second period of play as the Eagles took a 28-21 lead into the break.

North Bullitt pulled away in the second half and came away with the 51-33 win.

“We just didn’t have the effort against North Bullitt,” Burkhead said. “I don’t know if it was playing three games in one week and playing on a Saturday night. We took some bad shots and had a lot of turnovers, but we’ll just keep trudging along trying to get better.”

Harrison Simms led the Commanders with eight points, followed by six for Purdom. Abell had five and Hamilton and Sexton each put four points on the board. Ben Simms, Matthew Osborne and Walker each had two points in the loss.

This Friday, the Commanders will host Marion County in a boy/girl double-header. The boys get things started at 6 p.m. while the girls play the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.. You can catch live coverage on 100.9 MIKE-FM with the pre-game show at approximately 5:55 p.m.

See next week’s issue of The Springfield Sun for all the highlights and photos.