Grainger Today Correspondent
MARYVILLE – The Grainger High School Grizzlies dropped a 79-61 decision to the 9-1 Van Burne County Eagles in a first round game of the Heritage Christmas Classic played at Heritage High School in Maryville last Wednesday afternoon. The Grizzly basketball team returned to the hardwood Thursday to face the Campbell County Cougars in the consolation bracket.
In a hotly-contested first quarter, the Grizzlies received six big points from post player Chase Muncy, four points from Marquice Fifield and Dalton Conn but still trailed the Cougars 16-14 after the first quarter. Campbell County connected on four treys in the first eight minutes of play.
However in the second quarter, the Grizzly defense clamped down and allowed the Cougars to score only six points while pulling out to a 30-22 halftime lead. That lead resulted from a basket and four free throws from Conn, two baskets from Muncy, a basket and two free throws from Jeb Hurst and a basket from Fifield.
In the third quarter, Muncy tallied an additional six points, with Fifield adding three and Bunch two as the teams matched third-quarter points. The game went into the final eight minutes of play with Grainger still holding an eight-point lead at 41-33. In the final stanza, the Grizzlies earned a trey and three free throws from Darren Goen, one basket each from Courter, Hurst and Bunch and a free throw from Kobe Evans to post a 54-43 score and move into the consolation championship that was played Friday.
Chase Muncy, with 16 points, led the Grainger scoring attack which included 10 points from Dalton Conn, nine from Marquice Fifield and six each from Darren Goen and Jeb Hurst. In addition, the Grizzlies got four points from Jacob Bunch, two from Zac Courter and one from Kobe Evans.
The Grizzlies will next compete in the Hancock County Christmas Tournament where they take on Cocke County Wednesday. The Grizzlies will play Morristown West Thursday at 7 p.m. and then close out the 2017 portion of their schedule with a game against Sullivan South at 4 p.m. Friday. Grainger will open the 2018 portion of their basketball schedule with a game at Cosby January 2.