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Sandies Inch Closer to Title

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Keizion Ashford

Grapeland 84 Centerville 64

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

CENTERVILLE – The Grapeland Sandies were looking to take another step towards their 12th consecutive district championship when they traveled to Centerville last Friday to take on the Tigers.

The Sandies came into the game ranked #2 in Class 2A with a 27-1 overall record and a 26-game district winning streak, stretching back to 2017-2018 season.

The Tigers, on the other hand, had a district mark of 4-5 coming into the game and were battling it out for a playoff berth with Lovelady and Leon.    

Centerville put up a fight, but in the end, the Sandies were just the better team and dealt the Tigers’ playoff hopes a setback with an 84-64 win.

Once the game began, the Sandies used the three-ball to forge an early lead. Riley Murchison connected on three from long-range for nine first quarter points. Keizion Ashford also connected from downtown as part of his five points in the period while both BJ Lamb and Cadarian Wiley dropped in two apiece to help give Grapeland an 18-14 lead after the first eight minutes of play.

The Tigers’ points came from Dillon Denman and Daniel Robinson with four each while three other Centerville players – Clayton Bell, Paxton Hancock and BJ Kelly – all had three apiece.

Grapeland’s defensive pressure began to frustrate the Centerville offense which led to several easy points for the Sandies in the second quarter. Lamb netted 10 in the period while Ashford threw in seven. Wiley worked inside for a pair of baskets, Murchison hit his fourth three-pointer of the half and Austin Driskell got on the books with two as the Sandies took a 44-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Robinson helped keep the Tigers in the game with seven, second quarter points while Denman added six. Bell chipped in a bucket to round out the Centerville first-half scoring.

Following the break, the Sandies kept the pressure on and held the Tigers at bay. Wiley paced Grapeland with eight while both Ashford and Lamb had five apiece. Driskell found his stroke and drained a three to help the Sandies take a 65-49 lead into the final eight minutes.

Robinson and Denman continued to lead the Tigers in scoring after the break. Robinson poured in 10 while Denman netted six and Bell added four in the third.

The fourth quarter saw the Sandies put the game on ice. Ashford and Driskell both netted five, while Lamb connected on his fourth three and Murchison hit his fifth three-pointer on the game. Lekerian Smith also chipped in an old-fashioned three-point play to help close out the Tigers by a final score of 84-64.

On the game, Centerville was led in scoring by Dillon Denman and Daniel Robinson, both with 23. Clayton Bell went for nine, Arnold Gomez had three and three other Tigers – Caiden Boss, Paxton Hancock and BJ Kelly – all had two apiece to close out the Centerville scoring.

The Sandies were led by Keizion Ashford with 22 points, five boards, five assists and six steals. BJ Lamb poured in 20, pulled down three rebounds, dished out five assists and also had six steals. Riley Murchison had five threes and Cadarian Wiley powered inside for 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Austin Driskell worked inside and outside for 10 points and Lekerian Smith closed out the Grapeland point production with three.

The Sandies were back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 11 as they hosted the Lovelady Lions. As of press time, however, the score was unavailable.

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

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