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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Eminence Red Wings improved to 2-1 this season and continue to show they are a contender in Missouri Class 1 through the early stages of the season as they ran away with a 82-68 win over Clever at Saturday’s Ozark Mountain Shootout in Springfield.
Eminence got 32 points and 20 rebounds from 6’7 2019 forward Trent McBride, who went for 25 and 13 in the second half as the Red Wings pulled away late.
“Today was a good win for us, Clever is a good team and they shoot the ball very well and come back on you really quick,” Eminence head coach Pete McBride said. “Our biggest challenge was directing which way their guards went so it would be difficult for them to find their shooters. They hit a lot of threes, but we contested a lot of them too.”
Eminence ran the battle on the boards in overwhelming fashion, 35-13 including a host of offensive boards by Ethan Drake, Grant Dyer, McBride and others.
“One of our biggest strengths is rebounding, and is has to be,” Pete McBride said. “We have some other deficiencies, and we have to make them up with great effort on the back board. That’s something we work on, and our guys know we have to do well at that part of the game.”
“I like to think that we are a tough and physical team. Traditionally we handle the ball better than we have been, and I hope we will get there –– that place that we need to be to play our best basketball. I like to think people consider our team to be smart in situational basketball. Unfortunately, we haven’t been doing that good of a job at that either.”
The Red Wings are led by McBride, who is a skilled forward with long arms and an all-around game. He can score on the block, face up on the perimeter, drive to the bucket as well and shoot from the 3-point line. In addition to his 32 points game on Saturday, he has also posted games of 27 and 23 points this season.
“He’s kind of been our leader, and he has to score for us,” Pete McBride said. “He shoots a high percentage from the field and we have to get him shots and he has to work hard on the glass so he can get extra points.”
The Red Wings are also counting heavily this season on Grant Dyer and Ethan Drake, two players who have been a big part of the Red Wings’ varsity in the past as well.
A 6’3 2019 forward, Dyer was an all-district player last year, while Drake is a 6’1 2018 guard who can shoot from the outside and handle the ball.
Also in the mix are senior Kyndall Copeland, junior Wade Dyer among others.
“We know we have things that we have to work on … things we’ve talked about,” McBride said. “We have the holiday tournament and a lot of other great teams on the rest of our schedule. Thayer, Dora and other strong teams that will demand a lot from us. It’s a tough schedule ahead of us, and we have to be ready.”
EMINENCE — Ethan Drake has high expectations for the upcoming season at Eminence as the Redwings return a host of varsity regulars from a team that went 20-10 a year ago and captured a district title.
A 6’0, 170-pound senior guard, Drake brings a well-rounded game to the court. At the offensive end, he likes to drive and kick the ball to open shooters and can also take a smaller player to the post. He can finish drives, shoot a high percentage from 3 and rebounds the ball well for a guard.
This past summer he competed with the Storm Elite, and says the experience helped prepare him for the upcoming season.
“This summer I played against some very talented and athletic players, and I feel that it helped me become a more solid floor general and allowed to me adapt to higher paced games,” he says.
With several key players returning, expectations are high for Eminence this season as they hope to make a push in the Class 1 playoffs. Last year the Redwings lost in the quarterfinals to Advance.
“The rest of the team and I are very excited for the upcoming season,” Drake said. “Our goal is to go the Final 4 and take home a state championship. I feel that this is a very achievable goal with the amount of talent and athleticism on our team.”
Eminence is schedule to face Advance in a rematch to open the season as part of the Current River Shootout on Saturday at Van Buren High School.
“I look forward to playing Advance at the beginning of the season,” Drake said. “We lost to them in quarterfinals last season and I would really like to come out and win that game to start our season right.”
A fan of the Warriors Steph Curry, Drake says his mother has had the biggest influence on his basketball career to date.
“She has always pushed me to get better and to work as hard I possibly can,” he said. “She has payed for me to play on traveling teams, multiple camps, and put in time with me at the gym. There’s no way I’d be the player I am today without her backing me.”