By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – At the end of 2016, the Grapeland offense seemed to be sluggish and non-responsive. It was similar to a car when the fuel injectors get clogged. It would sputter for a little bit and then it would seem to run fine for a while. Inevitably, the sputtering would return, along with the starts and stops.

A container of STP® Fuel Injector Cleaner might have cleared up the problem or if the issue turned out to be more severe, a visit to the mechanic may have been required.  Whatever the case, Grapeland Basketball Coach Cannon Earp appears to have fixed the problem and has the Sandies firing on all cylinders as the District 20-2A season has started.

After a 101-74 win over Lovelady on Friday the 13th, the Sandies welcomed the Latexo Tigers to the Storm Cellar and sent their guests – rather rudely – back outside and down U.S. Hwy. 287 following a 74-24 thrashing on Tuesday night.

For all intents and purposes, the game was over after the first eight minutes of play as the Sandies opened up with 27 points. Grapeland’s starting five all chipped in at least two points during the quarter and got an assist from Tyrin Wiley who came off the bench to give the backcourt a rest.

Tink McQuirter led the way with nine points while Parker Wilson tossed in seven. Rodney Davis knocked down four, Riley Chipman drained a 3-pointer and both Kamari Smith as well as Wiley chipped in two.

The Tigers’ first quarter scoring came from Sonny Townsend with four, Tristan Curless with a 3-pointer and Carter Catoe with a free throw to make the score 27-8 after the first period.

While the offense was on display in the first period, the Sandies defense showcased the second quarter as they held the Tigers to three points on a two from Kase Miller and a free throw from Townsend.

While not quite as explosive as they were in the first, the Sandie offense still poured in 16 points in the second quarter to make the halftime score 43-11. McQuirter continued to make his presence felt as dropped in another nine spot. Rick Frauenberger scored four from the paint and Davis nailed a 3-pointer to round out the Grapeland first half scoring.

After the break, the Sandies kept up the defensive pressure and held Latexo to six third quarter points from Townsend.

Offensively, the Sandies put up 21 points to increase their lead to 47 after three periods of play. Chipman knocked down a pair of treys for six points while recent JV call-up Dacorian Bryant added five. Davis and Smith scored three each as both Wiley and Wilson chipped in two.

With the score 64-17 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Sandies slowed the pace both offensively and defensively. Latexo scored seven in the final eight minutes on four points from Miller and three from Townsend.

Another JV call-up, Keriaun Davis led the Grapeland scoring with four points while Bryant, Frauenberger and Wiley all netted a basket to make the final score 74-24.

The Tigers were led in scoring by Sonny Townsend with 14 while Kase Miller went for six, Tristan Curless had three and Carter Catoe chipped in one.

The Sandies were led by Tink McQuirter with a game high 18 points. Rodney Davis knocked down 10 as both Riley Chipman and Parker Wilson scored nine. Dacorian Bryant had seven, Rick Frauenberger and Tyrin Wiley had six apiece, Kamari Smith netted five, and Keriaun Davis chipped in four to round out the Grapeland scoring.

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