CREEDMOOR — The Warren County men’s basketball team suffered one of the worst losses in program history on Wednesday evening after South Granville routed the Eagles by a score of 117-14.
The outcome was one that head coach Toriano McRae Jr. never expected during his career, but he does not intend to dwell on the loss to South Granville and wants his players to keep taking basic steps towards improving their on-court chemistry.
“We’ve got a young group,” McRae said. “There are some things that we could have done differently on our end from every standpoint, but for the most part, the guys competed as much as they could. The odds just weren’t in our favor [on Wednesday].”
McRae expected Warren County to deal with some growing pains during the 2020-21 season following the departure of six seniors from last year’s team, including Andrew Smith, the scoring leader who averaged 18.7 points per game.
Already dealing with two lopsided losses to J.F. Webb and Bunn to open the year, McRae expected another tough contest against a South Granville program that advanced to the NCHSAA 2A Final Four last season before being eliminated in overtime by Farmville Central 66-63.
Once the game got underway, things quickly turned disastrous for Warren County, which found themselves in a 43-2 deficit after eight minutes of play. South Granville maintained its aggression in the second half to take an 82-12 halftime lead.
South Granville head coach Jake Wohlfield adopted a more conservative approach in the second half with his team up by 70 points, and managed to get his entire roster a significant amount of playing time before the night came to an end.
Junior Collin Tanner torched Warren County with 46 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and six steals before he was benched in the third quarter.
The rest of the South Granville roster tallied at least one point in the stat sheet with the exception of senior Victor Sloan, who still contributed with three rebounds, two steals and an assist.
Wohlfield said that he expected some backlash after his team’s 100-point win over Warren County, but he affirmed that he does not care about the differential and is more focused on ensuring that his team is prepared for another championship run.
“We’re a very talented group this year, but in no way was it ever our goal to break records,” Wohlfield said. “[Tanner] was only three points away from breaking our individual school scoring record, but he didn’t play in the entire fourth quarter. We’re trying to beat teams like Farmville Central, and we don’t think the best way to do that is to not play our game.”
Wohlfield praised the work McRae did at Warren County last season that helped him secure the Northern Carolina 1A/2A Conference Coach of the Year award, and is confident that the program will have many more successful years under his guidance as soon as the roster obtains more experience.
Now that South Granville has a victory underneath them on the year, Wohlfield believes that his team can start settling into a rhythm and focus on their style of basketball ahead of tonight’s matchup with Louisburg. Like McRae, he plans to move on from Wednesday as quickly as he can.
“We have never tried to deliberately embarrass anyone,” Wohlfield said.
“We’ve been on the other end of these losses when J.F. Webb had [future UNC player] Isaiah Hicks and they got us by about 40-50 points,” he said. “We do things the right way and it’s never our intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, but this is a competitive game. With that being said, I don’t want this to reflect poorly on the character of myself, my kids or our program in any way.”
McRae said that the loss to South Granville is something that everyone in the program will remember for the rest of their lives, but he does not want to see lopsided defeats become a recurring theme at Warren County and expects his players to keep putting in the necessary effort to stay competitive.
“We have to work on the little things like the effort plays and have heart, but we also need to bounce back from this,” McRae said. “This loss is going around the Internet right now and I told my players that they needed to expect that and that [Wednesday] has to be day one of the turnaround, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond.”
Warren County will travel to Stem on Wednesday to battle Granville Central as they attempt to pick up their first victory of the 2020-21 campaign.