Winfield was scheduled to open its season at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at St. Albans. The Generals were there, but Red Dragons seemed to begin the 2011-12 campaign around 7:41.
An 11-0 spurt to open the game and a huge burst to start the second half propelled Winfield to a 71-55 win on Tuesday, despite a 30-point performance from the Red Dragons' Josh Kiser.
"We did some things good," Winfield coach Pat McGinnis said. "Boy, Kiser is a player. Give them credit in the first half they were at times going man and then back in the half court they were switching to zone. Our kids weren't picking that up real good at first."
"It was just one of those things where it's a game of runs and we luckily got the most runs."
After St. Albans fell behind early, it made a run in the second quarter led by Kiser. The senior scored 13 points in the quarter to close the margin to three at the break. But the Generals ran out again, outscoring the Red Dragons 22-7 in the third, building a lead St. Albans couldn't erase.
In fact, Kiser's night was a microcosm of how the game went for St. Albans. Kiser poured in another 15 points in the fourth quarter, but in the deciding first and third quarters he was limited to two points on 1-of-4 shooting.
"We're always looking for the shooters," McGinnis said. [Nathan] McNeil and Kiser are their best shooters and we knew we had to be out on them. We weren't going to help off of Kiser we were going to stay on him. We needed to know whether we were in zone or man, wherever he was at. In that third quarter we were trapping a lot and I think it gave them problems. They didn't handle it real well, we got some steals, and he didn't handle the ball much."
Kiser was good on 12-of-17 shots from the floor, but as hot as he was, Winfield's team was hotter. The Generals shot 49 percent for the night and were led by Zach Gunter's 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor. Zachary Fisher was next inline for the Generals with 14 points followed by Chris Turner with 12, and David Gaydosz with 11.
But while Cameron Powell scored only five points, the point guard may have been as important as anyone for the Generals. Powell was extremely effective handling the ball, directing traffic, and dishing out assists.
Unfortunately for Winfield, Powell tweaked an ankle after being fouled with 13.2 seconds to go and was unable to shoot his foul shots. McGinnis was unsure of his status.
St. Albans coach Marshall Kiser was still encouraged despite the result.
"We got down early and I thought our kids showed a lot of resolve in fighting back," Kiser said. "I was really happy with the effort our kids made. We made some mistakes that were very costly. We didn't control dribble penetration, we didn't rotate well late in the game, and we didn't shoot the ball particularly well."
Taylor Clark added eight points for St. Albans.