Warrensburg boys best Oak Grove in defensive battle

Warrensburg’s Brooks Baldwin drives to the basket during the first half of the Tigers 51-44 win over Oak Grove on Friday, Feb. 7.

OAK GROVE — It felt like both teams in Friday’s, Feb. 7, match-up between Oak Grove and Warrensburg had managed to swipe the other team’s playbook prior to tip-off.

Almost every defensive possession had each coaching staff calling out their own corresponding play to help get a leg up on the opposing offense.

There wasn’t any elaborate heists involved in the transparency, just a familiarity between the two programs.

Oak Grove head coach Dustin Fox spent five years on staff with Warrensburg under coach Chris Nimmo.

“He does a wonderful job, some of my favorite years coaching were with him without a doubt,” Nimmo said.

The schematic similarities produced a defensive battle for four quarters.

“He was yelling out what we were doing, we were yelling out what they were doing,” Nimmo said. “We both tried to do a few things different that we didn’t know, but not with as much effectiveness as we would have liked.”

It was the first meeting between Fox, who spent the last four years guiding Knob Noster, and Nimmo and the mentor had one more lesson for the mentee as Warrensburg bested Oak Grove 51-44.

“It was a defensive battle,” Nimmo said. “We told our kids that you are just going to have to battle and rebound away. I thought our kids, especially in the second half, guarded really, really well.”

Oak Grove held an 11-10 lead after the opening frame then started the second quarter with a 7-0 run in the first 90 seconds.

Warrensburg answered an 8-0 run of its own to tie the game up at 18-18.

The Panthers managed to stay in front going into half up 23-22.

The Tigers pulled ahead in the third quarter behind a pair of 3-pointers by Jackson Nimmo and Trevor Key, leading 34-33.

Oak Grove’s Tully Thomsen, who finished with a game-high 24 points, and Hunter Jones opened the final frame with back-to-back deep balls, opening up a 39-34 lead.

Brooks Baldwin, who led Warrensburg with 15 points, caught the Tigers up with a three, knoting the game up at 39-39.

Warrensburg kept the run going with a pair of buckets by Eli Nappe, who finished with seven points, as the Tigers opened up a 45-39 lead with 90 seconds left.

Baldwin iced the game away by sinking three out of four free throws to move WHS to 2-2 in MRVC West play.

Shelby Pittsenbarger added 12 points and Cooper Berry chipped in 10.

Warrensburg hosts Pleasant Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

Sports Editor Randy Speer can be reached by emailing randy.speer@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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