By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandies closed out the unofficial, first half of the season on Friday, Dec. 16 with an 81-61 win over the Chireno Owls. The win moves Grapeland’s record to 14-1 on the season as the team takes a break until the start of the Houston County Holiday Tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

The game opened with both the Sandies and the Owls finding their range from behind the arc. Once the two teams found it, the Grapeland gym appeared to spring a leak as threes began to fall from the sky.

The Owls dropped in three shots from beyond the arc in the game’s opening minutes. Hank Burks, Chad Elumbaugh and A. Molina all hit a three-pointer while Mason Shaw and Jeffery Cleveland both scored two to give the Owls 13 points in the first quarter.

The Sandies, meanwhile, showed the Owls they could shoot the deep ball with just about anyone. Rodney Davis knocked down two from long range as a part of his 10 points in the quarter while Parker Wilson also hit from down town in the first period. Rick Frauenberger scored four from the post position, Tink McQuirter added three and Tyrin Wiley scored two to give the Sandies a 22-13 lead after the first eight minutes of play.

In the second quarter, the floodgates opened as the Owls drained three more shots from long range while Grapeland doubled up on Chireno with six.

Luke Alvis, Elumbaugh and Shaw all hit a three-pointer. Cleveland paced the Owls with four points in the quarter while H. Metteauer converted two free throws to close out the first half scoring for Chireno.

With a nine point lead, the Sandies began to spot up from the outside as shot after shot began to fall. The Sandies hit six threes in the quarter as Wilson had three, Riley Chipman had two and Kamari Smith had one. Frauenberger added a free throw to the Sandies total to make the score 41-28 at halftime.

Following the break, the Owls tried to make a run but the Sandies managed to hold them off and led by 11 with one quarter to play.

The Owls were led in the third by Cleveland’s six points. Banks and Mettauer scored five apiece, Alvis hit his second three of the game and Elumbaugh scored two to make the score 60-49 after three.

For Grapeland, Wilson continued his hot shooting from behind the arc as he drained two more threes. McQuirter scored six, Davis hit his third three pointer of the game as both Chipman and Frauenberger scored two.

Once the fourth quarter got underway, the Owls began to send the Sandies to the free throw line and Grapeland responded. While it’s been a somewhat worrisome area so far this season, the Sandies came through in the clutch by hitting 11 of 13 free throws in the final eight minutes.

Wilson made six of six from the line to go along with a two pointer. Davis made three of three as part of his seven points in the quarter. Chipman made two of two from the charity stripe as part of his four in the quarter while McQuirter netted a basket to close out the Grapeland scoring and give Grapeland the win by a final score of 81-16.

The Owls were led in scoring by Jeffery Cleveland with 18 points. Luke Alvis, Hank Burks and Chad Elumbaugh all had 10, Mason Shaw scored eight, H. Meteauer had seven and A. Molina scored three.

The Sandies were led by Parker Wilson with 26 points, six assists and five rebounds. Rodney Davis poured in 20 points and grabbed six rebounds. Riley Chipman scored 12 points, pulled down six boards and dished out five assists. Tink McQuirter scored 11, had nine boards and two assists. Rick Frauenberger scored seven points and pulled down three offensive rebounds. Kamari Smith scored three points, snatched 10 boards (6O, 4D) and had an assist. Tyrin Wiley scored two, had two rebounds and an assist for the Sandies.

Grapeland is next scheduled to play on Dec. 28 in the Houston County Holiday Tournament. Their first opponent in Pool Play will be the Trinity Tigers. The game is scheduled for tip-off at 4:00 p.m.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.