Grapeland Takes Sole Possession of First Place in District 20-2A
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – It was slated as a battle between cross-county rivals as the Lovelady Lions traveled north up Hwy. 19 for a District 20-2A showdown with the Grapeland Sandies.
Lovelady came into the game with a 4-0 district record and a #22 TABC ranking while Grapeland was also sitting at 4-0, with a #7 ranking.
While the game was intense throughout, the Sandies proved to have too much firepower for the Lions as they outlasted Lovelady by a final score of 99-67.
The tone was set early on as the Sandies started the game with a 12-2 run. The Lions would cut into the lead only to see Grapeland re-assert itself and extend the lead.
Jay Thomas Robinson kept the Lions in the game early on with six first quarter points. Michael Price knocked down a shot from behind the arc and Logan Lowery added two points to round out Lovelady’s first period scoring.
Javion Joseph was on fire for the Sandies in the first eight minutes of play as he drilled a pair of three-pointers to go along with a two from inside. Deco Bryant hit his first three of the night as part of his five points in the quarter while Keizion Ashford and Cadarian Wiley dropped in four apiece. Tyrin Wiley also got in on the act as he added a bucket to help give the Sandies a 23-11 lead after one period of play.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as Grapeland held the high-scoring Lions’ offense to 11 points, once again. Lowery accounted for five of the points while Price, Robinson and Deontrae Hawkins split the remaining six on an equal basis.
Grapeland’s C. Wiley took over the Sandies’ offense in the second period with eight points. Bryant, Rick Frauenberger and Keriaun Davis all had four while T. Wiley chipped in two to help give Grapeland a 45-22 lead at the break.
After intermission, the Lions came out with a renewed intensity and by the midway point of the third quarter, it appeared as if they might cut the lead to single digits.
It was a team effort from the Lions as eight players scored in the third. Price and Robinson both had five while Chris McKnight dropped in four. Lowery added three as James Robert Cousins, TreVon Hawkins and Slade Murray all had two. Seth Murray made one of two from the line to give Lovelady 24 in the third.
As mentioned earlier, while the Lions made a run in the early part of the third, the Sandies turned it up a notch as well. Bryant caught fire with a trio of three-pointers, a two and pair from the charity stripe for 13
points in the quarter. Joseph returned to the scoring column with six, while both C. Wiley and T. Wiley added four apiece. Frauenberger converted a pair of free throws for the Sandies as they dropped 29 on the Lions and took a 74-46 lead into the fourth quarter.
Try as they might, the 28 point deficit was too much for the Lions to overcome in the final period of play. Price had seven in the fourth for Lovelady while Lowery had five. Se. Murray added three while both McKnight and T. Hawkins had two.
While he made three in the third, Bryant knocked down four three-pointers in the fourth for another 12 points. Joseph hit his fourth three to go along with two from down low. Ashford added four while both Frauenberger and Josh Ackley chipped in two as the Sandies defeated the Lions by a final score of 99-67.
On the game, the Lions were led by Michael Price with 17 points while Logan Lowery and Jay Thomas Robinson both had 15. Chris McKnight added six as both Deontrae Hawkins and Seth Murray had four apiece. A trio of Lions – James Robert Cousins, TreVon Hawkins and Slade Murray – all had two apiece to close out the Lovelady point production.
Grapeland was led by Deco Bryant with a game-high 34 points and Javion Joseph with 19. Cadarian Wiley poured in 16 while three Sandies – Keizion Ashford, Rick Frauenberger and Tyrin Wiley – all had eight. Keriaun Davis added four and Josh Ackley had two as the Sandies took sole possession of first place with a 5-0 record in District 20-2A competition.
Following the game, Head Coach Cannon Earp discussed his team’s performance.
“Grapeland vs. Lovelady is always fun,” he said. “The way they play, our kids like that style as well. I knew if we could limit turnovers – I knew we would have some because they play so aggressive – we would have a good chance.”
Earp said there were times during the course of the game where it seemed his team was bit by the turnover bug, but added “… other times, we were getting out there with a three on two or two on one for some easy baskets.”
Asked about the third quarter when the Lions made a run, Earp said he was perplexed by his team at times.
“I don’t understand why our kids don’t play very well with a lead. I jumped right back into a press. Normally, you don’t go back to a press when you’re up by 20, but it’s like I told someone else, a 16 or 20 point lead against Lovelady can be gone in a heartbeat. A couple of quick steals (by Grapeland), it was like a snowball effect and the lead was back to 30,” the coach said.
“I was proud of them. You never know what to expect against Lovelady,” Earp added.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.