SEMINOLE — This was a game Seminole knew it could not play above the rim.
The Warhawks were giving up at least 3-4 inches inside to Clearwater’s post players.
So Seminole’s game Wednesday was based on speed and cunning. The game in the air was changed to a game on the floor. The Warhawks swept up the leftovers left by the big men, taking the ball and zipping in the other direction.
And when Seminole’s shooters were open from the outside, they fired away.
The result was a resounding 66-32 win for the Warhawks before a raucous home crowd clad in orange.
“We usually come out and play pretty well at home,” Seminole coach Josh Walker said. “We were able to do a little bit of everything tonight. We scored inside and outside.”
The Warhawks are 9-1. More importantly, they are 5-1 in Class 7A, District 10, good enough for second place. Staying in contention in a tough district seemed tough three weeks ago when Seminole found out its top scorer, Justin Hollis, was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
But the Warhawks have responded with five straight wins, finding ways to compensate for the loss of Hollis.
Wednesday, Seminole opened up a 16-6 lead in the first quarter and went into the half ahead 30-18. The Warhawks continued to pour it on in the second half and outscored the Tornadoes 21-4 in the fourth quarter.
Noah Weller led Seminole with 23 points, followed by Jarron King (15) and Matt Cassity (13). The three combined to hit 17-of-20 free throws.
But the one thing Walker was most pleased about was his team’s defense. The Warhawks held Clearwater to single digits in two quarters and did not allow a Tornadoes player to reach double digits in scoring.
“After we lost Justin, our guys had to find new roles and new identities,” Walker said. “Defensively, we played great and really got after it. We keep improving, and we continue to grow. Now, we just have to find a way to play this well when we’re on the road.”
After starting 4-0, the Tornadoes have lost four of their past five. Justus Reed and Cody Carden each had six points to lead Clearwater.