By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandiettes welcomed the Central Heights Lady Blue Devils to town last Tuesday, Nov. 28 for what was initially thought to be a tough game of basketball. The Central Heights squad, unfortunately, has been beset by the injury bug in the early part of the season and what was anticipated to be a close contest turned out to be a blowout by Grapeland.

The Sandiettes scored early and often as the game got underway while the defensive prowess of Coach Anthony DeCello’s team was on full display as Grapeland held Central Heights to only one point in the first eight minutes of play. Hope Badders made one of two from the line to help the Lady Blue Devils avoid a first quarter shutout.

Gracie Conner

The Sandiettes, meanwhile, parlayed their defensive pressure to an 11 point lead by the end of the first quarter. Tatiyanna Bowie had four points for Grapeland as a quartet of Sandiettes – Ragan Bowie, KeKe Harris, Teira Jones and Kenya Woods all had two.

As the second quarter began, the Central Heights offense seemed to improve. Badders scored four for the Lady Blue Devils while Adrianna Upshaw had three. In addition, both Emily Durham and Victoria Spencer had two.

Coach DeCello began to substitute liberally during the second period of play to give his bench players some in-game experience. As a result, seven Sandiettes scored in the quarter. Harris led the way with eight while Jones and Woods both had four. Reagan Bishop, R. Bowie and T. Bowie all had two while DeDe McKnight added one to close out the half with Grapeland leading by a score of 35-12.

The third quarter was just plain ugly. The Sandiette starters came back in for the first four plus minutes and dominated the game. Because of the suffocating Grapeland “D”, it took the Lady Blue Devils nearly three minutes to get the ball across the midcourt line. Once they did, the Lady Blue Devils only points came on a two-pointer from Durham.

The Sandiettes offense capitalized off their defensive pressure and poured in 30 points to put the game on ice. Harris dropped in 11, Woods had eight and McKnight netted four in the quarter. Jones chipped in three as both R. Bowie and T. Bowie added two each.

KeKe Harris

With the score 65-14 starting the final period of play, the starters took a seat on the bench as the Sandiettes milked the clock. Grapeland held the score down and only had four in the quarter behind buckets from R. Bowie and Aeriannia Granderson.The Lady Blue Devils took advantage of the starters being out of the game and scored 14 points to close out the contest. Durham and Spencer led the way with four points apiece. Badders, Taylor Chambers and Upshaw all had two to round out the Central Heights point production as Grapeland defeated the Lady Devils by a final score of 69-28.

For the game, Central Heights was led by Emily Durham with eight and Hope Badders with seven points. Victoria Spencer had six, Adrianna Upshaw had five and Taylor Chambers scored two.

The Sandiettes were led by KeKe Harris with a game-high 21 points. Kenya Woods poured in 14, Teira Jones netted nine and both Ragan Bowie along with Tatiyanna Bowie scored eight.  DeDe McKnight chipped in five while Reagan Bishop and Aeriannia Granderson both had two.

Aeriannia Granderson

Following the game, DeCello commented on the game and specifically the work of the second team.“I thought they were organized. They played hard defensively and they didn’t give up too many offensive rebounds. We did struggle shooting the ball today. That has been a problem for us this year. Our outside shooting just hasn’t been there,” he said.

“They started to pack it inside and we struggled to score in the first half. In the second half, we changed up our defense and went to more of a half-court defense and got some transition layups. Still, our outside shooting is suspect,” he added.

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