FRANKSTON – An early barrage of threes from Grapeland's BJ Lamb help steer the Sandies past the Frankston Indians, 87-68, in the Class 2A-Region III Bi-District round Saturday evening.
Five days removed from watching his family's home burn down, Grapeland's Lamb put on a career night against the Indians – going for 33 points.
“I put what happen with my house behind me,” Lamb said. “My entire focus was on the game and how to help my team.”
Lamb's hot hand showcased itself early as the Sandies raced out to a 14-4 advantage in the first three and half minutes behind three BJ three-pointers.
“I'm so thankful to have a kid like BJ,” Grapeland head coach Blake Doughty said. “I'm thankful for the young man he has become. Who he is allowed him to get through that type of adversity.”
Frankston, who was battling against their third consecutive top-five 2A opponents (LaPoynor, Martin's Mill, Grapeland), remained poised as they began chipping away at the 10-point deficit.
“I told the kids to embrace this challenge of playing three of the top four teams in Texas,” Frankston head coach Scotty Albritton said. “We had to fight. And there were two to three stretches in each game that was the difference in the game. I'm proud of the way this team showed fight in all three games.”
Shooter's confidence appeared to be contagious as Frankston's Kody Loebig began dialing in shots from deep. His pair of threes helped the Indians climb back within one possession at 16-14.
Grapeland's Keizion Ashford responded to Loebig with a three of his own to extend their lead to five. Both sides continued to trade buckets in the final 2:30 minutes.
Lamb placed a bow on the opening quarter when a Frankston turnover led to a buzzer-beater three point shot from the senior guard.
Lamb ended the first quarter with 17 points.
To much of the delight of onlookers, both teams continued to showcase potency on the offensive end. Grapeland held a 37-27 lead halfway through the second quarter.
Lamb's sixth first-half three put the Sandies up 13 and forced Frankston head coach Scotty Albritton to burn a timeout. The pause in action did little to cool off Grapeland's hot streak from behind the arc as Ashford and Lamb both splashed home threes.
While Lamb filled the stat sheet from deep, Cadarian Wiley earned his buckets under the rim. Wiley's hustle on the offensive glass resulted in 10 second-quarter points and 16 points total in the first half.
The Sandies took a 54-32 lead into halftime.
“What Wiley does for us is different from what the other guys do as far as his offensive game,” Doughty said. “He's so athletic and active around the rim. He really expands our game and that opens up what we're able to do on the perimeter. He's as important as anyone on the court.”
Grapeland's offense continued to flourish in the third quarter, while the Indians attempted to regain some momentum. At one points the Indians trailed by as much as 28 in the third quarter before a 9-0 run reduced the score to 64-45 with under three minutes left in the quarter.
The Sandies retorted with a 7-0 run as frustration on the Indians' sideline began to show. Coach Albritton was hit with a technical foul and watched Lamb step to the line before sinking both shots.
The slight stumble for Frankston was met with Cael Bruno and Caleb Ramsey scoring the final four points of the quarter.
Still, Frankston faced a 73-49 hole with a quarter remaining.
With their playoff lives hanging in the balance, Frankston returned to the court at the top of the fourth and raced out to a 9-0 run.
A three from Kody Loebig and a layup from Caleb Ramsey moved them a bit closer as they still trailed by 15 with under five minutes remaining.
Unfortunately for the Indians, they would be as close as they get as Grapeland controlled the final minutes of the game to secure the bi-district championship.
BJ Lamb finished the game with 33 points, while Cadarian Wiley added 30 on the night.
Frankston's Cael Bruno led with 23 points with Kody Loebig adding in 20.