By BRYAN URBACH
A last second three-pointer from Grapeland’s Patrick Walker put the Sandies one point short of the Muenster Hornets.
One point was the difference in the match as Muenster beat the Sandies 65-64 in the State Semifinals game.
Grapeland’s Patrick Walker lead both teams in scoring with 37 points, but it wasn’t enough as Muenster’s size proved to be the difference maker.
Despite the size difference, Grapeland put up a fight with its speed and defense throughout the game.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of doing what we wanted to do,” Sandies coach Owen Clifton said. “We were able to keep them to the shots that we wanted them to take, we just weren’t able to block them out. It cost us with some extra chances, and that’s what probably made the difference in the ballgame.”
Grapeland’s fourth quarter comeback was something to be admired as the Sandies had been down by eight points after the third quarter.
The Sandies outscored the Hornets 23-16 in the fourth, but came up just short of the complete comeback. Clifton said he liked that his team was able to make a run at the end of the game and never gave up.
“You can’t put into words how proud I am of these guys. You have the opportunity to come here and play on the big stage, and just the smiles as we walked in here made it all worth it. I’m so proud of these boys,” Clifton said. “Obviously we’re heartbroken because we thought we could come down here and win the whole thing, but I guess everybody feels that way. I rode their coattails this year and it was a fun ride. To the seniors, we’re going to miss the heck out of them, but it’s not a bad way to end your career.”
Muenster’s Lyndon Cook, a 6-foot-5 freshman, grabbed 26 rebounds and scored 20 points for the Hornets in the game.
Patrick Walker’s 37 points in the game were indicative to how he has played the entire year, and Clifton said he, along with the other seniors, were great to have all season long.
“We’re going to miss all of these seniors,” Clifton said. “Patrick is a special kid who plays hard and knows how to put the ball in the hole. They did a good job of containing him off the dribble. We wanted to get the ball to the rack more to create more open looks for our shooters, but credit to Muenster. They did a great job of packing it in and making us have to hit some shots and we didn’t. Congratulations to them.”
The Sandies finished their season with a record of 33-5 and now look to repeat their performance and return to the state tournament again next season.