Grapeland Defeats Malakoff, 79-60

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

MALAKOFF – The Grapeland Sandiettes opened their 2017-2018 basketball season with a victory against the Malakoff Lady Tigers on Tuesday night, Nov. 7. While the game was sloppy at times, the Sandiettes pulled away in the second half to win by a final score of 79-60.

Following the tip-off, the two teams traded baskets through the first eight minutes of play with the Lady Tigers taking a 16-14 lead after the first quarter.

The Sandiettes were led by Teira Jones with six points in the opening period. Kenya Woods added four as both Ragan Bowie and Hannah Chipman knocked down two apiece.

The Lady Tigers saw Kei Kei Walker go for six while Jalie Dawson added four. Both Alliyah Coleman and Shakera Thompson had three points to round out the first quarter Malakoff scoring.

The action ratcheted up in the second quarter as both teams seemed to get past the opening night jitters.

Grapeland found its touch from the outside as Bowie and KeKe Harris both hit a pair of threes to go along with a two, for eight apiece in the quarter. Jones added four, Chipman had three and Woods made one of two from the line to keep the Sandiettes within a basket.

Thompson dropped in eight for the Lady Tigers in the second and was joined in the scoring column by Dawson with six. Coleman added four and both Taliha Dora along with Charlsey Stearman dropped in two to give Malakoff a 40-38 lead at the half.

When the two teams returned to action after intermission, it was obvious the momentum had changed over to the Grapeland side as the Sandiettes poured in 22 and held the Lady Tigers to 10 in the third quarter.

Jones knocked down eight from inside while Bowie and Harris both scored six. Chipman added two as the Sandiettes assumed control of the game and led by a score of 60-50 at the end of the period.

Malakoff’s third quarter scoring came from Dawson with six and Coleman with two. Nakeyah Kelly also broke into the scoring column for the Lady Tigers with a two.

As the game entered the final period of play, Grapeland began to pull away from Malakoff. Bowie netted eight for the Sandiettes while Woods had four. A trio of Sandiettes – Tatiyanna Bowie, Harris and Jones – all scored two and Deana McKnight added a free throw as the Sandiettes closed out the game by a final score of 79-60.

Coleman had six for the Lady Tigers in the fourth quarter while Kelley and Thompson both had two.

For the game, the Sandiettes were led by Ragan Bowie with 24 points and Teira Jones with 20. KeKe Harris netted 16, Kenya Woods went for nine and Hannah Chipman had seven. Tatiyanna Bowie scored two and Deana McKnight added one.

The Lady Tigers were led by Jalie Dawson with 16 while both Alliyah Coleman and Shakera Thompson had 15 points apiece. Kei Kei Walker went for six, Nakeya Kelley had four and the duo of Taliha Dora and Charlsey Stearman both had two.

After the game, Head Coach Anthony DeCello commented on his team’s performance.

“I thought our defense in the second half was really good. We really got after it and turned the game around with some steals,” DeCello said.

“Our transition game was also much better,” he continued. “We started finishing at the rim in the second half.”

As to the areas the team needs to work on, the coach said, “I didn’t think our ball handling was very good. We were really poor on our defensive rotations in the first half. They beat us pretty badly on the boards in the first half.”

DeCello added the Sandiettes struggled to put the ball in the basket in the game’s opening minutes.

“We had point blank shots that we never finished. It could have been nerves, though, being it was the first game.”

The Sandiettes traveled to Buffalo on Saturday, Nov. 11 for a game against the Lady Bison but, as of press time, the final score was unavailable.

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