Warriors Down Pioneers In A Trip Back In Time
1971-72 was the last full season that the Winona State Warrior Men’s Basketball team played in Talbot Gymnasium. In January of 1973, Memorial Gym (now McCown Gym) hosted a game for the first time, and has been the Warrior home ever since.
Every once in a while, the Warriors have returned to Talbot to play a game here and there, when McCown was otherwise occupied. Now, McCown Gym is in the final stages of renovation, and the Warriors have returned to their former home to play 2 exhibition games, until McCown is ready for games again on November 12.
The Warriors began their exhibition season on November 3rd, with a 69-56 win over Carroll University (WI) at Talbot Gym. The Warriors were without Head Coach Todd Eisner, who underwent surgery which will keep him at home for 3-6 weeks. Assistant Coach Zach Malvik stepped into the Head Coach role, and guided the Warriors to the win.
It was the first game action of the season for the Warriors, while their opponent had come off a season opening trip to Canada, getting 5 games under their belt. It showed early on, as the Pioneers sprung out of the gate, scoring the first five points of the game, and starting with a 12-4 run to put the Warriors behind.
However, free throws and clutch 3-point shots got the Warriors back in the game, and allowed the Warriors to get back to even at the Half. The teams went into their locker rooms tied at 30.
Riley Bambenek gave the Warriors the performance that they needed to get the rest of the offense going. Bambenek scored 11 points in the first half, on his way to 21 for the game, hitting 3-3pointers, with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Corey Jeffs also kept the Warriors in the game in the first half, knocking down a key 3-point shot that made the Pioneers relax their defense, to guard against the 3. Jeffs would finish the game with 12 points off the bench, going 6-6 from the free throw line, adding 6 rebounds and a steal to his line.
3 Warriors led the team with 7 rebounds each – Isaiah Gray, Connor Flack and Kyle Bauman were all a force on the boards. Bauman and Flack each had 9 points, while Gray had 5.
The Pioneers were led by Kyle Keranen, who had 21 points, and Ben Widdes and Tyler Ingebrigtsen who each had 10.
The Warriors will close out their exhibition schedule on November 7, when they host UW-Eau Claire at Talbot Gym at 7 PM. HBC will be on hand to record the game as an Extra Point broadcast.