SEMINOLE — And then there was one. No. 8 Grady rolled past Ropes in a Class A, Division II regional quarterfinal playoff round Tuesday, routing the Eagles 72-38 using a balanced offensive attack and aggressive defense.
With the win, the Wildcats (25-6) advanced to the regional semifinal, where they will meet the winner of the Whitharral-Nazareth game which is being held today due to a weather postponement.
Grady jumped out to an early lead, outscoring Ropes 24-4 in the first period. The Wildcats went on to build a 43-20 lead by the half and then held the Eagles to just 18 points in the final quarters of play.
“Obviously, we're happy with last night's game,” GHS Head Coach Thomas Clay said. “We has several guys play well. We're not a very big team — we had to keep pressure on them.”
The Wildcats have relied on their quickness to get them this far and Clay plans to keep the same uptempo game plan regardless of who they face in the semifinal.
“We're going to run them,” Clay said. “When you are as fast as us, you have to just commit to it. We're fast as far as offensive is concerned, but we are blazingly fast on defense. This is by far the fastest team I have ever coached.”
Brandon Lucas led Grady with 20 points, while E.J. Rodriguez put up 15, Michael Jiminez added 12 and Taylor Polson and Ivan Sanjuan each chipped in seven.
Last season, the Wildcats went as far as the state semifinal before losing to Graford. Clay believes this team has what it takes to go just as far. Or even further.
“It's impossible for me to look past the next game,” Clay added. “But if you compare the two teams, we're faster. We're a more well-balanced team. We had six guys return from that team. They are used to winning.”
The Wildcats will take the court Friday at 1 p.m. at the Texan Dome on the South Plains College campus in Levelland.
LAMESA — The Bearkats' season came to an end Tuesday. No. 19 Garden City — who finished second in district behind Water Valley — was cruising through the playoffs until they ran into Ira's suffocating defense and bowed out of the postseason, losing 59-41.
It was all Bulldogs (No. 23) from buzzer to buzzer. Garden City was held to just eight points in the first stanza and eighteen in the opening half.
Up by 28 by the end of the third, Ira's lead was insurmountable.
Lance Morris, who spearheaded the Eagles' rout, had a game-high 28 points, while Garden City's top scorers were held to single digits. Juan Bustos and Corbin Davis led the Bearkats with eight points apiece, Dillon Koenning and Braeden Jones each accounted for six and Sam Miller added five.
The Bearkats went on a 21-11 run in the fourth period, but it was too late in the game to stage a meaningful rally.
“We did a very poor job of executing our game plan early,” said Garden City Head Coach Koby Abney told the San Angelo Standard-Times. “We gave up way too many transition points early and dug ourselves a hole that we didn’t get out of.”
The Bearkats finished with a 23-8 record. Ira will play Throckmorton on Friday in Abilene at 7 p.m.
• Petersburg (13-2) defeated Sands (29-4), 39-29. Sands eliminated in regional quarterfinal.