By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 LOVELADY – The Grapeland Sandies hit the road on Tuesday, Jan.31 as they traveled to Lovelady to take on the Lions in a District 20-2A matchup.

McQuirter

The basketball game marked the first contest in the second half of district play and just like the first time these two teams met this season – a 101-74 Grapeland win – the Sandies came out on top last Tuesday by a final score of 87-69.

As the game got underway, Lovelady struggled to find a way to slow down Grapeland’s Tink McQuirter and the rest of the Sandie offense. McQuirter poured in 14 points in the first eight minutes of play.

Along with McQuirter, the Sandies got seven points from Parker Wilson, a 3-pointer from Rodney Davis and two apiece from Riley Chipman and Rick Frauenberger.

The Lions were led in the first quarter by Taylor Womack with four points while Michael Price and Ty Stubblefield both added three. Hunter Murray dropped in two to round out the Lovelady scoring with the Lions staring up at a 28-12 deficit.

While the first quarter belonged to Grapeland, the second quarter saw the Lions make a resurgence. Lovelady scored 25 points in the quarter, held Grapeland to 18 and cut the 16 point deficit nearly in half.

Chipman

Murray scored seven for the Lions in the quarter while Alex McKnight and Hunter Patton broke into the scoring column with five apiece. Jay Thomas Robinson added four while both Womack and Logan Lowery dropped in two points to make the halftime score 46-37, in favor of Grapeland.

The Lions, however, continued to struggle in containing Grapeland’s McQuirter as he scored another eight points in the second period to end the half with 22 points. Wilson added four as a trio of Sandies – Davis, Kamari Smith and Tyrin Wiley – all chipped in two to close out the quarter.

After the break, the Lions seemed to have an answer for McQuirter as the senior was held to two points in the third. Chipman, however, picked up where his teammate left off and torched the Lions for nine points. Wilson dropped in five and Smith added three. Davis slammed home two and Wiley also scored a bucket as the Sandies regained their double digit lead and led by a score of 69-53 after three periods of play.

The Lions third quarter points came from Lowery and Murray with five apiece while Robinson dropped in four and Womack chipped in two.

Wilson

Lovelady tried to mount a comeback in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter but the Grapeland defense proved to be too much and held them to 16 points on eight points from Murray and four apiece from Robinson and Stubblefield.

Offensively, McQuirter was back at it again in the final frame for the Sandies as he added another six to his total. Chipman and Frauenberger both had three, while Smith, Wiley and Wilson all scored two to close out the game and help give Grapeland the 87-69 win.

The Lions were led in scoring by Hunter Murray with 22 points and Jay Thomas Robinson with 12. Hunter Patton knocked down 10, Taylor Womack had eight and Ty Stubblefield went for seven. Alex McKnight scored five for Lovelady, Michael Price had three and Logan Lowery chipped in a basket to round out the Lions’ point production.

McQuirter led the Sandies with a game-high 30 points. Parker Wilson netted 1
8 and Riley Chipman nicked the Lions for 14. Both Rodney Davis and Kamari Smith went for seven, Tyrin Wiley added six and Rick Frauenberger powered his way to five.

After the game, Coach Cannon Earp discussed the win and his team’s performance.

“It’s always hard to play here. We came out and I think we wound up going ahead by as many as 20 in the second quarter. They adjusted and went to a half-court man defense.  It wasn’t something we were expecting but we made some adjustments of our own,” he said.

“We went into halftime with a nine point lead and we were able to extend it in the third quarter. I was proud of them,” he added.

Smith

Earp said he was especially proud of the effort put forward by Parker Wilson who was a little under the weather the entire game.

“It sounds cliché, but he was a warrior out there. He was able to get in the lane and create for the other guys,” Earp said.

The coach was also asked about Tink McQuirter’s   performance during the game.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I was just talking to (former Sandie) Jaques (Faulk) about how we sort of made fun of Tink last year. I don’t think he made a shot outside the lane or a three pointer. He had absolutely no mid-range game. However, Tink worked so hard and he never goes home before practice. He stays in the gym and is in there shooting. He has perfected that mid-range game and I am super proud of him. He is not the same kid he was last year because he has worked at it.”

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