Grapeland 74 Alto 51
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – Before the game against the Alto Yellow Jackets began, fans on the Grapeland side could be seen holding signs with “1,000” printed on them.
It turned out that senior guard Deco Bryant was only four points shy of 1,000 for his career as a Grapeland Sandie. Apparently, he didn’t want to take a chance on not reaching the milestone as he poured in a game-high 34 points to lead the Sandies past the Yellow Jackets by a final score of 74-51.
As the game started out, Bryant opened with a three. Shortly thereafter, he put in a layup to surpass the 1,000 point mark. The game was stopped as Bryant was recognized for his accomplishment by GISD Superintendent Don Jackson and Head Coach Blake Doughty.
Following the break in the action, the Sandies got back to business as they took an early 23-16 lead by the end of the first eight minutes of play. Bryant led the way with seven points while Keizion Ashford dropped in six. Cadarian Wiley went for five while BJ Lamb knocked down a three-pointer and Austin Driskell made two of two from the line.
Alto was paced by Skyler Atkins with seven first quarter points. He was joined in the scoring column by Jay Pope with four, KS Jackson with three and Jerrion Skinner with two.
Bryant continued to frustrate the Alto defense as he dropped in 10 during the second quarter. Ashford and Lekerian Smith both had two as the Sandies took a 37-31 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Both Atkins and Jackson tossed in five second quarter points apiece for the Yellow Jackets while Pope had three and Todd Duplichain had two.
The offensive wheels came off the Alto bus as the second half got underway. The Sandies ratcheted up the defense and held the Yellow Jackets to four third quarter points on twos from Jackson and Pope.
Meanwhile, Grapeland’s offense got a jump start from the defense as the Sandies opened up a 23 point lead by the end of the third quarter.
Bryant stayed hot as he knocked down a pair of threes as part of his eight third quarter points. Wiley powered his way inside for six while Lamb hit a shot from behind the arc. Ashford drove inside for two and Riley Murchison added a pair of free throws to help Grapeland take a 58-35 lead in the fourth quarter.
While they gave it a shot, the Yellow Jackets were never able to make a sustained comeback, thanks to the Sandies’ defense. Atkins hit six fourth quarter points for Alto while Pope and Skinner added four apiece. In addition, Jackson netted a bucket to close out the Yellow Jackets point production.
Grapeland was led by Bryant who stayed red-hot in the final period of play with nine points. Wiley added four to his total, Murchison had two and Ashford converted one of two from the line to help the Sandies secure the 74-51 victory.
On the game, Alto was led in scoring by Skyler Atkins with 18 points and Jay Pope with 13. KS Jackson went for 12, Jerrion Skinner had six and Todd Duplichain added a pair of free throws.
The Sandies were paced by Mr. 1,000 – Deco Bryant – who had a game-high 34 points. Bryant was joined in double figures by Cadarian Wiley with 15 and Keizion Ashford with 11. BJ Lamb drained a pair of threes while Riley Murchison added four. Both Austin Driskell and Lekerian Smith had two points to close out the Grapeland scoring.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].