The Grapeland Sandies are headed to Austin.
The basketball team beat out the LaPoynor Flyers, 85-71, on Saturday at Tyler Junior College to book its ticket to the State Tournament.
Grapeland’s Jacolby Simpson started off the game against the Flyers on fire as he had five three-pointers in the first half.
The Sandies got off to a 20-13 start after the first quarter, and the atmosphere in the building intensified as both sides knew what was at stake.
In the second quarter, Grapeland saw its lead start to dwindle as LaPoynor got into a rhythm and started to feel more comfortable.
The Flyers outscored the Sandies in the second quarter 25-21 to cut the Sandies' lead to 41-38 heading into halftime.
Patrick Walker for the Sandies gave a stellar performance for Grapeland by scoring 29 points in the game. Afterward, Grapeland coach Owen Clifton said both Walkers (Patrick and Shaun) and Simpson stepped up with the rest of the senior class and helped pull out the win for the Sandies.
“Those guys are the seniors for us,” Clifton said. “Shaun was huge for us in the fourth quarter with his defense and going to the bucket and getting some quick layups. These seniors deserve it so much, and I’m so proud of them.”
Coming out of halftime, the Sandies had a few things on their mind, one of them being defense.
After allowing 25 points in the second quarter, the Sandies allowed just 14 in the third quarter while they scored 18 of their own.
“We knew we had to step it up on defense,” Clifton said. “We weren’t doing a good job containing No. 3 (Octavious Crear) on their team. He’s such a great player, and he’s so quick off the dribble. We weren’t helping each other, we were reaching. So, we made an emphasis of that in the second half, and they did a great job of coming back and getting the job done. I’m just so proud of these guys.”