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Grapeland Takes Down Class 4A #6 Sunnyvale

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Sandiettes 55 Lady Raiders 46

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

BROWNSBORO – It’s tournament time in East Texas and one of the basketball Meccas during December is the city of Brownsboro as they hosted the Great East Texas Shootout Thursday, Dec. 12 through Saturday, Dec. 14. 

While the Grapeland Sandies were wreaking havoc in Frankston, the Sandiettes traveled to Brownsboro for a weekend of hoops action.

On Thursday, the Sandiettes took on the Class 5A Lindale Lady Eagles and very nearly doubled up on the Lady Eagles by a final score of 77-41.

Friday saw Grapeland square off against another larger school as they took on the Sunnyvale Lady Raiders. While Lindale may be bigger than Sunnyvale, the Lady Eagles don’t have the recent pedigree of the Lady Raiders.

The Lady Raiders were: Regional Semi-Finalists last year with a 32-4 record; Regional Quarterfinalists in 2017 with a 30-4 record; Bi-district finalists in 2016; and Class 3A State Champions in 2015.

This year, so far, Sunnyvale was 15-0 and ranked #6 in Class 4A.

Now make no mistake, the Sandiettes also have a pretty good resume in hand. Coming into the tournament, Grapeland (11-4) was ranked #9 in Class 2A and had only lost by four points – last weekend – to the #2 team in Class 3A, the Chapel Hill Lady Devils.

And don’t forget, the Sandiettes were also the State Runners-up in Class 2A last year. 

As the game got underway, the two teams seemed to be evenly matched and the score reflected that as the Sandiettes took an 11-8 lead after the first eight minutes of play.

Teira Jones and Jessie Payne led Grapeland with five points apiece while KeKe Harris converted one of two from the line.

Sunnyvale’s first quarter points came from Brooke Daniel and Precious Nweke with four apiece.

The second quarter saw the Sandiettes hit the Lady Raiders with a pressure defense and up tempo offense. The result of that one-two combination saw Sunnyvale wilt as Grapeland held the Lady Raiders to four points on baskets from Daniel and Daniela Marcos.

Meanwhile, Grapeland smelled blood in the water and raced out to a 19-point lead at the break. Harris and Jones both dropped in six for the Sandiettes while Payne and Kenya Woods both had three. Tatiyana Bowie knocked down a pair from the charity stripe as Grapeland led at halftime by a score of 31-12.

Following the break, the Lady Raiders shook off their offensive woes from the second quarter as they poured in 18. Lena Meras led Sunnyvale in the quarter with four while Marcos and Takoyah Stallings both had three. Four other Lady Raiders – Daniel, Kendra Meras, Micah Russell and Chloe Thomas all had two.

While the Lady Raiders attempted to make a comeback, the Sandiettes were not in a giving mood and put in 15 points of their own to keep the lead in double digits after three, 46-30.

Woods went for six in the third while Payne had four. Harris and JaMiyah Bowie added two apiece while Jones had one.

In the final frame, Sunnyvale managed to get the lead under 10 but never really threatened the Sandiettes’ lead. Russell had six for the Lady Raiders in the fourth quarter while L. Meras had four. Marcos, Stallings and Brinley Andrews all chipped in two to round out the Sunnyvale point production.

Harris paced Grapeland with sixth in the fourth while Jones added three to her total as the Sandiettes defeated the Lady Raiders 55-46.

On the game Sunnyvale was led in points by Brooke Daniel, Lena Meras and Micah Russell with eight apiece. Daniela Marcos knocked down seven, Takoyah Stallings had five and Precious Nweke added four. In addition, Brinley Andrews, Kendra Meras and Chloe Thomas all had two.

The Sandiettes were led by KeKe Harris and Teira Jones, who shared game-high honors with 15 points apiece. Jessie Payne joined Harris and Jones in double figures with 12 while Kenya Woods had nine. JaMiyah Bowie and Tatiyana Bowie also had two apiece to close out the Grapeland scoring.

The win moved the Sandiettes into the tournament semifinals on Saturday morning where they were scheduled to play the #24 Class 3A Mineola Lady Yellow Jackets. As of press time, however, the final score of that game was unavailable.

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