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January 16, 2018

Grainger basketball teams split season openers 

Elmer Smith
Grainger Today Correspondent 

HARRIMAN – The Grainger High School basketball teams opened their seasons last Saturday with the Lady Grizzlies taking on Chattanooga Baylor in a neutral site at Harriman Middle School. The Grizzlies had to take on the Harriman Blue Devils on their home court. 

The Lady Grizzlies season was quickly ignited by the first-quarter scoring of Haley Crowe, who connected on four treys and a pair of deuces for 16 first-quarter points. A basket by freshman point guard Tori Rutherford and one free throw each from Abby Hodge and McKenzie Stratton gave Grainger a 20-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

In the second quarter, the Baylor offense began to click as the Lady Red Raiders knocked four treys, a pair of deuces and two free throws for 18 second-quarter points. The Lady Grizzlies got treys from Crowe and Matty Tanner, two baskets from Hodge and one basket from Sydney McCubbins for a 32-22 lead at the half.  

In the third stanza, Grainger got a deuce and a trey from Rutherford, a two-point basket from Crowe and two free throws each from Hodge, McCubbins and McKenzie Stratton to pad their lead by five points and hold a 45-30 lead at the end of three quarters. 

In the final quarter, the Lady Grizzly defense allowed only five points while scoring 21 points on two baskets and two free throws from Hodge, two baskets from Rutherford, a pair of treys and a free throw from Crowe and one basket each from Isabelle Stratton and McCubbins. Grainger pulled away for an impressive 66-35 victory.  

Haley Crowe, with 28 points, led the Lady Grizzlies in scoring. She was followed by Abby Hodge with 13 points and Tori Rutherford with 11 points. In addition, Grainger got six points from Sydney McCubbins, three points each from Matty Tanner and McKenzie Stratton and two points from Isbella Stratton.  

“It was a pleasant way to start the season,” said Lady Grizzly head coach Justin Combs. “We had to do a good job on them defensively, and I thought we executed the game play really well. We held their best player to 10 points, and no other players were in double digits. Very pleased with the intensity and effort and how we jumped on them in the first quart. Our seniors played like seniors and led us. Crowe did what she needs to do as she hit seven threes for us. Sidney played well and rebounded and defended and made some big buckets inside. Abby played well, and Tori had 11 points in her first varsity game and McKenzie had some good minutes as the sixth player.” 

In the boys game, the Grizzlies took on the defending state champion Harriman Blue Devils on their home court. In the first quarter, the Grizzlies got a a pair of threes each from Darren Goen and Jeb Hurst, a pair of deuces and a free throw from Marquice Fifield and a trey from freshman Brady Grubb to build a 20-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

In the second quarter, the Grizzlies got two baskets and three free throws from Fifield, one trey each from Goen and Grubb and a two-pointer from Hurst, while holding the Blue Devils to only three baskets. That would indicate that Grainger should have increased its lead. That didn’t happen as Harriman went to the foul line 21 times in the second quarter and connected on 17 free throws to take a 38-35 halftime lead. 

In the third period, the Grizzlies got a deuce and trey from Hurst, a pair of twos from Fifield, a trey from Grubb and a basket and free throw from Chase Muncy to tie the score at 50-all entering the final quarter.  

In the final eight minutes of the game, the Grizzlies got seven points from Fifield, a trey from Goen, three points from Jacob Bunch and two points each from Zac Courter and Luke Jones. However, the disparity of points from the foul line, 26 points for Harriman to only seven for Grainger, was too much to overcome as Harriman recorded a 76-67 victory.  

Marquice Fifield led the Grizzlies with 23 points and was followed by Jeb Hurst with 13 points and Darren Goen with 12. Freshman Brody Grubb, who connected on a trio of threes, had nine points and was followed by Chase Muncy and Jacob Bunch with three points each, with Zac Courter and Luke Jones adding two points each. 

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