Sandiettes Advance to Regional Semis with 78-50 Win
By Will Johnson
FAIRFIELD – It’s been a long time since the Grapeland Sandiettes have been to the Sweet 16 of the UIL Girls’ Basketball Playoffs. In 2003, the Sandiettes made it to the Regional Semifinals only to lose to the Hawkins Lady Hawks, 50-56.
Prior to 2003, it was 2000 when Grapeland fell to the East Chambers Lady Buccaneers, 69-67, and before that it was the Sandiettes State Championship season of 1988-1989.
Well, after back-to-back seasons of making it to the Regional Quarterfinals in 2017 and 2018, only to fall to LaPoynor Lady Flyers both years, the Sandiettes are back! They will open play in the Regional Tournament against the Woden Lady Eagles on Friday, Feb. 22 after they defeated the Kerens Lady Bobcats on Tuesday, Feb. 19 by a final score of 78-50.
The Tuesday night game saw Grapeland and Kerens come out of the gates at a breakneck
pace, unfortunately, both teams had trouble putting the ball in the hoop in the early going. Near the five minute mark, it seemed as if the Lady Bobcats began to feel the intense pace set by the Sandiettes.
One of the nice things about having your basketball team run cross-country is they can run all day, which is exactly what Grapeland did to Kerens. At the 4:43 mark of the quarter, Hannah Chipman hit a three to start a Grapeland run which came to a close when Tori Woodford knocked down a shot from behind the arc to give the Sandiettes a 13 point lead, near the end of the first quarter.
After a pair of free throws from Kerens’ Nakia Dunn, Grapeland added another two as the quarter came to an end with the Sandiettes leading by a score of 26-13.
Teira Jones powered her way to 10 first quarter points for Grapeland while Kenya Woods dropped in six and Chipman had five. Woodford added her three and Tatiyana
Bowie added a basket to help account for the Sandiettes’ offensive output.
Mya Lincoln paced the Lady Bobcats with five points while four other Kerens players – Dunn, Olivia Franson , Kecie Langley and Kaylee Reed – all had two apiece to round out the Lady Bobcats’ first quarter scoring.
During the early minutes of the second quarter, Ragan Bowie, Chipman and Jones got into a little foul trouble. Because of this, Kerens went to a bigger line-up in the second to try and take advantage of the Grapeland foul situation.
In retrospect, the Lady Bobcats probably wished they hadn’t done that because it turned the game into a free-throw contest midway through the period. It also gave the Sandiettes a chance to catch their breath before going on a 7-2 run.
Given the foul situation, the normally short Grapeland bench had to grow a little bit as
Woodford and Aeriannia Granderson saw extended playing time in the period. Granderson and Woodford more than held their own as the Sandiettes and Lady Bobcats played to a near stalemate as Grapeland kept the lead at 13 through most of the period before eventually taking a 40-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Jones paced the Sandiettes second quarter scoring with six points. Woodford hit her second three of the half while T. Bowie and Woods both had two. KeKe Harris also got into the scoring column as she converted one of two from the line.
Kerens saw Langley come alive before halftime as she dropped 10 on the Grapeland defense. Franson added two and Alexius McAdams made one of two from the charity stripe to close out the Lady Bobcats’ first half scoring.
After the break, the Sandiettes began to extend their lead and pushed
the score to 46-27 with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter.
The Lady Bobcats, however, began to chip away at the Grapeland lead as the momentum began to swing towards Kerens. A hard foul on Chipman with just under two minutes seemed to refocus the Sandiettes and it seemed to give them a little extra push to get their heads back in the game.
Chipman made both free throws and was followed by a three from Harris. A minute later, with time running down, Woods stepped behind the three-point line and calmly drilled a shot to close out the quarter with the Sandiettes leading by a score of 58-38.
Kerens would not give up and began to chisel away at the Grapeland lead, once again. At the 6:30 mark of the final quarter, however, Ragan Bowie finally found her way into the scoring column with a three. Less than a minute later, she knocked down another three-pointer to effectively put the game away as the Sandiettes pushed their lead to 25.
Grapeland began to milk the clock and four minutes later, the game was over as the Sandiettes defeated the Kerens Lady Bobcats by a final score of 78-50 to advance to the Regional Semifinals for the first time in 16 years.
Franson scored nine of the Lady Bobcats’ fourth period points while McAdams accounted for the other three.
R.Bowie’s two three-pointers led the way in Grapeland’s fourth quarter. Woods added five, Jones had four, Harris converted three of four from the line and Chipman added a basket to close out the Sandiettes’ fourth quarter scoring.
On the game, Kerens was led by Olivia Franson with 18 points and Kecie Langley with 15. Mya Lincoln had seven, Alexius McAdams had four and three other Lady Bobcats – Nakia Dunn, Madison Parks and Kaylee Reed – all had two apiece to round out the Kerens point production.
The Sandiettes were paced by Teira Jones with a game-high 26 points and Kenya Woods with 16. Hannah Chipman drop
ped in 11 and KeKe Harris went for seven. A trio of Sandiettes – Ragan Bowie, Tatiyana Bowie and Tori Woodford all had six to close out the Grapeland scoring.
Following the game, Head Coach Anthony DeCello spoke about his team’s performance.
“In the second quarter, we had a lot of subs in because we were in big foul trouble. Fouls hurt us all night. We had some kids in the game who usually don’t see a lot of playing time and I think they played well. We maintained. We may not have been able to push the lead out, but we maintained,” he said.
In regard to the extended minutes for Tori Woodford and Aeriannia Granderson, DeCello said, “When Hannah (Chipman) and Ragan (Bowie) both got into foul trouble, we had a lead so there was no use putting them back in. We had told Tori she was going to be the first sub
off the bench. She’s been shooting well in practice and playing really good defense. When she went into the game, (Kerens’) Mya Lincoln already had five points on a three and a two. Tori just shut her down.”
Because the Sandiettes had a double-digit lead, Granderson came in to the game to chew up minutes and did a great job of doing just that, the coach said.
“We don’t play a lot of people off the bench,” DeCello continued. “Teira Jones was smart the second half as she played with three fouls. I thought our pace was really good and I thought we pushed the ball well in transition. Our defense was decent, but I don’t think it was great. They isolated us inside with some height issues. That hurt us a little, along with their rebounding.”
Concerning the hard foul on Chipman that seemed to give Grapeland the spark they needed to put the game away, DeCello smiled.
“No one really tries to press us but after that foul, they really tried to press us. Then it just turned into transition baskets for us. We love when people press because we can get into our transition game a little more. We can get kids down the floor, like when Ragan Bowie spotted up for those threes. Once we push, we have some kids who love to run in transition,” he said.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.