PALESTINE — The Grapeland Sandies are heading to Austin to take on the Muenster Hornets in the first round of the State Tournament on Thursday morning.
One of the biggest things that Grapeland coach Owen Clifton wants to do is to come back from the trip with a State Championship.
“To be truthful, it’s going to be a great time down in Austin, and we’re expecting to win,” Clifton said. “We’re expecting to come back with two wins and to end the season not losing. That’s one of the things I love about these boys is that it’s not a vacation down here.
“We’re happy that we’re here,” he added. “But we’re not satisfied with just making it here. There’s a difference for us. We’re working as we speak right now. We’re in the middle of practice trying to get prepared and ready to win the first game on Thursday, and then we’ll be prepared for Saturday if we get past Muenster on Thursday.”
The city of Grapeland held a send-off for the Sandies basketball team. Clifton said he was excited to see so much involvement from the city and said he felt good about the fans being able to experience this achievement with the team.
“It was neat to see our community come out and support our guys,” Clifton said. “We even drove through Crockett and there were people waiting out on the side of the road, waving at us. It was a neat experience for us. It was great to see the town rally around us and have the police escort us out of town. We’re definitely looking forward to this week. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The game will be held in Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas in Austin on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. The Sandies are coming into the matchup against the Hornets with a record of 33-4. The Hornets, on the other hand, are coming into the game with a 27-2 record, which has Clifton knowing his team is going to have a lot to handle in the first round.