South Warren used a strong defensive effort in the second half to down host Warren East 54-44 on Wednesday.

In a preview of the upcoming opening round of the District 14 Tournament, South Warren (13-5 overall, 2-3 District 14) held the Raiders to 13 points in the second half to take control and keep Warren East winless in district play.

“This is our third game in three days,” South Warren coach Jason Holland said. “Last night we were on the road at Logan County and defense has been our calling card all year. We were upset. We gave up 20 in the first quarter and we looked like we were in slow motion.

“Our kids bought in the second half – grinded. It was good to see all of our team kind of pick each other up … drag each other to the finish line. I’m just proud of their effort in the second half.”

Warren East (4-7, 0-4) came out hot on offense and led for most of the first half, but the Spartans stayed within striking distance before tying it right before halftime.

The Raiders led 13-8 after a basket by Trey Price, but South Warren rallied to tie 15-all after a 7-2 spurt.

WEHS regained control by scoring the final five points of the first quarter and led 26-21 early in the second before South Warren got 3s from Brandon Rowe and Cooper Myers to briefly regain the advantage.

Once again Warren East answered, scoring the next five points, but South Warren scored two baskets in the final two seconds to tie the score 31-31 at the break.

The Spartans' momentum carried over to the second half.

After Warren East scored the first basket, South Warren responded with seven straight to surge in front for good. The Raiders never could find a rhythm in the second half, shooting 6 for 21 with South Warren able to steadily pull away to the final margin.

“Like coach said, we played three games in three days,” Rowe said. “It’s hard and you’re just tired, but you have to fight through it, help each other and get the win.

“We locked in and that helped us. It’s just the fight in the team we have.”

Rowe and Caden Veltkamp had 15 points each for the Spartans.

“Brandon has great court awareness,” Holland said. “For a sophomore he’s got a high basketball IQ. He knows things like a senior already.

Devaughn Williams led the Raiders with 14, while Linkin Lockhart added 10 points.

“I thought the first quarter and a half we played at our tempo,” WEHS coach Brandon Combs said. “It seemed like the last two and a half we played at theirs. They are a defensive minded team, limiting you to one shot, and in the second half we did a lot of uncharacteristic things that we haven’t been doing the past week. We have to get back in and concentrate and work on those things because the last two and a half quarters was definitely at their pace and wasn’t to our benefit”

South Warren is scheduled to host Russell County at 7 p.m. on Monday. Warren East is scheduled to host Campbellsville at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

SWHS 15 16 14 9 – 54

WEHS 20 11 5 8 – 41

SW – Rowe 15, Veltkamp 15, Jones 9, Myers 8, Faulkner 3, Reynolds 2, Neal 2.

WE – Williams 14, Lockhart 10, Matlock 8, Murrell 7, Price 4, S. Ghee 1.{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.