Win Sends Grapeland to Reg. Quarterfinals
By Will Johnson
CORSICANA – The road to San Antonio for the 2019-2020 Grapeland Sandiettes has twice led through Corsicana and both times, the Sandiettes have won lopsided contests.
On Monday of this week, Grapeland hammered the Frost Lady Polar Bears, 65-25, and then on Thursday they blasted the Valley Mills Lady Eagles by a final score of 84-45 to claim the Area Championship.
Despite the blowouts, the Sandiettes’ first quarter shooting percentage has been less than stellar. While they’ve still posted big numbers, if the accuracy were to improve, the girls from Grapeland would be flat out deadly.
As Thursday night’s game got underway, Grapeland couldn’t seem to buy a basket but still managed to post a score of 7-2 by the 4:38 mark. After a timeout, Valley Mills seemed to be up for the task at hand, as they trimmed the lead to 13-12 by the end of the first quarter.
Haley Graves put in four for the Lady Eagles while both Gracee Hilburn and Alyssa Rindorf connected from behind the arc. Avery Huffman added a basket to round out the Lady Eagles’ scoring in the period.
The Sandiettes went to their All-State forward Teira Jones at the outset and she responded with nine points. Jessie Payne also got in on the act as she netted four to help give Grapeland the early lead.
The second quarter saw the Sandiettes’ defense take over the game as they forced Valley Mills into numerous turnovers. One of the keys to Grapeland’s success is the Sandiettes know what to do when they force a turnover and that’s put the ball in the basket.
Grapeland took their one-point, first quarter lead and turned it into 12 in the blink of an eye, which forced Valley Mills to call another timeout. The TO seemed to calm the Lady Eagles down but the damage was done as Grapeland went into the half with 41-28 lead.
Jones continued to dominate inside as she poured in 13 points in the second quarter. When the Lady Eagles collapsed inside on Jones, the ball was kicked back outside where KeKe Harris knocked down a trio of three-pointers as part of her 11 points in the period. In addition, Tatiyana Bowie and Kenya Woods added two apiece to close out the Sandiettes’ first half scoring.
The Lady Eagles second quarter points came from Graves and Hilburn who both dropped in seven while Ragain Hyde added two.
After the break, the Sandiettes put the game away as they held Valley Mills to four third quarter points from Graves while they singed the twine for 31.
The Sandiettes found their rhythm when they came out of the locker room after halftime. Jones continued to dominate inside with 10 points as both Payne and Woods netted eight apiece. Harris hit another shot from downtown and Bowie converted a pair of free throws to help Grapeland open up a 40 point lead after three periods of play.
The fourth quarter saw Coach Payne go to his bench in order to give his starters some rest and to give his reserve players some quality playing time.
Even with the Grapeland starters on the bench, Valley Mills could only muster 13 points in the final period of play. Graves, Hilburn and Hyde all had three while Rindorf and Macie Speer closed out the Lady Eagles’ point production with two apiece.
Harris hit her fifth three of the game for Grapeland as part of her five, fourth quarter points. Tori Woodford knocked down a three-pointer while both Payne and Mary Jane Watson chipped in two apiece to help give the Sandiettes the 84-45 win, as well as the Area Championship.
On the game, Valley Mills was led in scoring by Hailey Graves with 18 points and Gracee Hilburn with 13. Both Ragain Hyde and Alyssa Rindorf had five apiece while both Avery Huffman and Macie Speer had two.
Grapeland was paced by Teira Jones with a game-high 32 points. She was joined in double figures by KeKe Harris with 19 points and Jessie Payne with 14. Kenya Woods also hit the double-figure threshold with 10. Tatiyana Bowie dropped in four, Tori Woodford nailed a three and Mary Jane Watson chipped in two points to account for the Grapeland offense.
The Sandiettes will be back in action next week in the Regional Quarterfinals against the winner of the Kerens/Rosebud Lott game. If Kerens wins – as expected – the game will be held on Tuesday in Frankston.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.