Big Third Quarter Keys 80-65 Win
By Will Johnson
SLOCUM – For the first two quarters on Tuesday night, it looked as if the Slocum Mustangs might pull off a major upset and take down the Grapeland Sandies.
The Mustangs gave the Sandies all they could handle and led by 10 at halftime. A huge third quarter by Grapeland, however, kept the Sandies atop the District 20-2A standings.
Grapeland came into the game with a 23-1 record and a #3 ranking in the Jan. 13 TABC poll while Slocum was ranked just outside of the Top 25 with a record of 18-5.
While it’s normally the Sandies who come out strong, the Mustangs matched the Grapeland attack and took a one point lead after the first eight minutes of play. Colby Thornton made life difficult for the Sandies in the paint as he powered his way to eight points. Randy guess knocked down five while Josh Ives hit a three and Andrew Abernathy had two as Slocum took an 18-17 lead after the first quarter.
The Sandies were paced by BJ Lamb with six and Cadarian Wiley with four. Austin Driskell nailed a shot from behind the arc, while both Keizion Ashford and Riley Murchison had two.
The second quarter saw Slocum push the lead to 10 behind five three-pointers. Chase Wilson had two three-balls as part of his eight points in the period. Ives also connected on a pair of three-pointers while Abernathy also hit from downtown. Guess, Thornton and Zack Bennett added two apiece as the Mustangs led 41-31 at halftime.
As the Mustangs ramped up their defensive pressure, the Sandies struggled from the field. Ashford paced Grapeland with six, second quarter points while Driskell and Murchison both connected on shots from behind the arc. Wiley closed out the Sandies’ first-half scoring with two as the Sandies found themselves in an unaccustomed position.
Credit Coach Blake Doughty for lighting a fire under the Sandies at halftime. Grapeland came out and scorched Slocum for 30 points while holding the Mustangs to only six third quarter points. Travis Neal and Mark Guess both had two while Bennett along with Chase Wilson chipped in one apiece.
Lamb took over in the third quarter as he netted nine points for the Sandies. Ashford was right behind him with seven. Driskell and Cooper Ward both netted five while Wiley and Jonathan Luce had two each to put Grapeland ahead 61-47 at the end of three.
The fourth quarter saw the action get a little rough as the Mustangs tried to mount a comeback to recapture the lead. The fouls became a little harder and a Slocum player lost a tooth, but the Mustangs simply couldn’t make a dent in Grapeland’s lead.
R. Guess led Slocum with six while Ives and Neal both had four. Wilson dropped in two and Abernathy had one to close out the Mustangs’ fourth quarter scoring.
Driskell and Murchison helped keep Slocum at bay as they both netted seven. Lamb and Wiley chipped in two apiece while Ward made one of two from the line to round out the Grapeland scoring.
On the game, the Mustangs were led in scoring by Randy Guess with 14. Josh Ives was just behind him with 13 while Chase Wilson had 11 and Colby Thornton worked inside for 10. Andrew Abernathy and Travis Neal both had six, Zack Bennett added three and Mark Guess chipped in a basket to close out the Slocum point production.
While the Sandies were led in scoring by Austin Driskell with 18 points, BJ Lamb had one of his best all-around games of the season. He scored 17 points, pulled down eight boards, dished out eight assists and had six steals.
Keizion Ashford poured in 15, Riley Murchison had 12 and Cadarian Wiley had 10 to go along with 14 boards. Cooper Ward knocked down six and Jonathan Luce chipped in a bucket to account for the Grapeland points.
The Sandies were back in action on Friday as they returned home for a game against the Groveton Indians. As of press time, however, the final score was unavailable.
The Mustangs were also in action on Friday as they traveled to Jewett to take on the Leon Cougars. As of press time, however, the final score was unavailable.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.