By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

SAN ANTONIO – After the players and coaches from both Grapeland and Muenster had a chance to decompress from a thrilling 2016-2017 State Semifinal game, they discussed the contest in a press conference.

The first team to enter the press room was the Grapeland Sandies. Coach Cannon Earp was flanked by Riley Chipman, Tink McQuirter and Parker Wilson.

Asked about the second half decline in shooting accuracy, Earp replied the players were still getting good looks at the goal.

“We just had a lot that bounced out. Even down in the lane, we were having a tough time getting the ball to drop. Their height caused us some problems, but we were still getting the shots,” he said.

“They may have been the biggest team we played all year, but I though t we still did a good job in attacking the paint. You can’t coach 6’7”. That length is tough to play against,” Earp added.

Concerning the issues at the free throw line, Earp said it was tough to shoot in big arenas like the Alamodome when a team is accustomed to having a wall behind the goal to help with depth perception throughout the year.

As the press conference continued, Parker Wilson was asked about his thoughts on qualifying for the state tournament.

Wilson said more than anything, it was a great experience.

“I would take this team over that team (Muenster) any day. We fell short but we wound up where we wanted to be. A lot of people doubted us, even before this game. We proved we could hang with the number one team in the state. I’m proud of these guys and I love them,” he said.

Chipman was asked about his first half performance and said it was the result of being considered as the underdog in the game.

“We couldn’t come out nervous or afraid. We just had to play our game and relax. I got some shots and they went down,” he said.

McQuirter was asked directly, what would happen if the two teams were to play again?

“If we had another game, it would be close. If we fixed some of the things that we messed up, I think it would still be close but we would come out on top by at least five,” McQuirter said.

After the Sandies had departed the media area, the Hornets came in led by Coach Lynn Cook.

Asked about the last two minutes of the game, Cook said it always comes down to the small things like making free throws.

“We had been in those situations this year and this group had been in that type of situation last year. I was very confident we would handle that type of situation very well and not panic. I knew we might miss a free throw or two, but I knew we were ready,” he said.

The Muenster coach was also asked about the adjustments made at halftime to allow the Hornets to get back in the game.

“We talked about some adjustments we could make to our half-court defense and the kids did a great job of executing those tweaks. One of the big things, though, was watching Grapeland on film and then being right next to them is a completely different ball game,” he said.

“The truth of the matter is that it took us a little while to figure out #3 (Riley Chipman) is pretty fast. If we don’t pick up #5 (Parker Wilson) a little bit higher, he’s going to pull up and shoot,” Cook said.

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