Grapeland Captures Fourth Straight Title
By Will Johnson
CENTERVILLE – The Grapeland Sandiettes hit the road on Friday as they traveled to Centerville to take on the Lady Tigers in a game that could decide the District 20-2A Championship.
Coming into the game, the Sandiettes were ranked #4 in Class 2A with an overall record of 27-5 and a district mark of 10-0. The Lady Tigers were ranked #18 in Class 2A with an overall record of 23-7 and a district mark of 9-1.
If the Sandiettes won Friday night’s contest, they would capture their fourth consecutive district championship. However, if the Lady Tigers won on their home-court they would be tied with Grapeland for first place in District 20-2A with identical 10-1 marks.
The stakes were high and the Lady Tigers played like it in the first eight minutes. Centerville seemed to frustrate Grapeland in the early going.
The Sandiettes couldn’t seem to buy a basket at the outset and All-State forward Teira Jones picked up two early fouls.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and it could have been much more if not for the Grapeland defense. Finally, at the 2:49 mark of the first quarter, Jessie Payne broke the ice for the Sandiettes as she made a lay-up.
Payne also hit a three in the period while both KeKe Harris and Kenya Woods added two to help Grapeland tie the game at nine by the end of the period.
Meanwhile, the Lady Tigers stood toe-to-toe with Sandiettes and hit them with their best shot. Still, it was only good enough for a tie. Shania West had three while Averi Hancock, Keyonna Holley and Hannah Matthews all had two apiece to make the score 9-9 after one.
During the first quarter, the Centerville fans could be heard chanting “Overrated” towards the Sandiettes. By the time three minutes had run off the clock in the second quarter, they had shut up.
Despite being saddled with two fouls, Jones poured in nine points in the second quarter. Harris added eight and Woods knocked down six to help Grapeland take a 32-14 lead by the end of the first half.
The Sandiettes also tightened up on defense and held the Lady Tigers to only five points. Matthews and West both had two while Hancock converted one of two from the line to close out the period.
Following the break, the Sandiettes began to pull away from the Lady Tigers as if to show the Centerville fans they were … underrated.
Grapeland’s defense forced several turnovers from the Lady Tigers which led to easy baskets for the Sandiettes as they held Centerville to six third quarter points on four from Matthews and two from Kaede Thomas.
Harris paced Grapeland with five, third quarter points while Jones added another four to her total. JaMiyah Bowie connected from behind the arc and Tatiyana Bowie dropped in a basket to help the Sandiettes take a 46-20 lead after three periods of play.
The fourth quarter saw Lady Tigers finally hit the double-digit mark in points per quarter as they scored 10 on a pair of threes form Holley and KK Stevens. Both Matthews and Kinsey Hardee added two apiece to round out the Centerville point production.
With a 26-point lead to begin the quarter, Grapeland was happy to milk the clock and work the ball around the perimeter before taking a shot. Jones dropped in four while Mary Jane Watson knocked down a three-pointer. In addition, Payne made one of two from the line to help give the Sandiettes the District 20-2A Championship by a final of 54-30.
On the game, the Lady Tigers were led in scoring by Hannah Matthews with 10 points while both Keyonna Holley and Shania West dropped in five. Rounding out the Centerville scoring, Averi Hancock and KK Stevens both had three while Kinsey Hardee and Kaede Thomas had two apiece.
The Sandiettes were led by Teira Jones with a game-high 17 points and KeKe Harris with 15. Kenya Woods dropped in eight while Jessie Payne netted six. JaMiyah Bowie and Mary Jane Watson both had three while Tatiyana Bowie closed out the Grapeland scoring with two.
The Sandiettes were back in action on Tuesday for their final district game of the 2019-2020 season, as they hosted the Lovelady Lady Lions. As of press time, however, a final score was unavailable.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.