Sandies Clinch Playoff Berth with Win

Grapeland 56 Slocum 41

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandies clinched a berth in the 2021-2022 postseason on Friday night with their 56-41 win over the Slocum Mustangs. It was the Sandies’ 49th consecutive district win and the victory puts them one step closer to their 14th consecutive district title.

The Mustangs and Sandies had played earlier in January and Grapeland was able to slip out of Slocum with a 58-52 win. On Friday, the Mustangs continued to play strong against the Sandies, but in the end, Grapeland was able to pull away and pick up the victory.

As the game got underway, Grapeland applied a press to help open up an early 11-4 lead. Slocum, however, eventually figured out the Sandies’ defense and cut the margin to 11-9 after the first eight minutes of play.

Johnny Lamb paced the home team with five points in the opening period while Omarian Wiley had four and Kionte Willis added two.

Lex Rich had four points for Slocum in the first while Ryan LaRoche connected on a three-pointer and Jose Molina worked inside for two.

The second period saw Wiley put the Sandies on his back as he scored the first six points in the quarter and had eight overall. A blocked shot by LeLe Smith gave Grapeland a spark and helped Willis break free for five straight before the end of the first half.

Smith drained a three and Nate Ivey chipped in two as the Sandies opened up a 29-22 lead at the end of the second quarter.

Stratton Wendell found his shooting touch for the Mustangs in the second as he knocked down five points. Mark Guess also found the scoring column with four while Molina and Jesse Pierce both had two apiece to close out the Slocum first half scoring.

After the break, the Sandies began to work the ball around the perimeter. Slocum cut the lead to three, but a pair of three-pointers from Cole Goolsby and a third three in the quarter by Ivey extended the Grapeland lead to 10 by the end of the third quarter.

Wendell kept the Mustangs in the game with six points in the third. LaRoche drained his second three of the game while Molina and Rich added two apiece as Slocum found itself staring up at a 45-35 lead after three periods were in the books.

Wiley took over in the fourth for Grapeland as he poured in seven points. Smith continued to be a force inside with four more for the Sandies as Grapeland held on for the 56-41 win.

On the game, Slocum was led in points by Stratton Wendell with 11 points. Jose Molina netted seven while Mark Guess, Ryan LaRoche and Lex Rich all had six apiece. Jesse Pierce rounded out the Mustang scoring with six.

The Sandies were led by Omarian Wiley who had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. LeLe Smith was also in double-figures with 11 points and six boards. Kionte Willis dropped in seven, Cole Goolsby had six while both Nate Ivey and Johnny Lamb had five apiece.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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