The last thing on Trey Bryant’s mind was personal glory.
His Oak Grove Panthers tried to keep up with the run ‘n gun Van Horn Falcons Monday afternoon in the first game of the 21st annual Grain Valley Eagles Sonic Showdown.
The 6-foot-7 senior center scored 12 points in the first period, but the Panthers trailed the Falcons 26-20.
“They were on fire, and all I cared about was the dub (win),” said Bryant, who maintained the hot hand and finished with a school-record 51 points, along with 11 boards and 5 blocked shots in an 84-68 Oak Grove victory. “But the guys kept getting me the ball, and we really broke the game open in the second half.
“It was a great way to start the tournament.”
Bryant broke the school record of 43 – set earlier this year by teammate Tully Thomsen at the Husker Invitational at Lafayette County High School – on a layup at 2:41 of the fourth quarter. The layup gave him 44 points.
When Bryant reached 44, it was evident his teammates were going to do everything they could to help him reach the half century mark.
With 1:23 left in the game, a pass from Gavin Richardson eluded two Falcon defenders and found its way to Bryant in the paint. He was fouled and hit the first of two free throws to reach the 50-point milestone.
He connected on one more free throw, to finish with 51 points, before leaving the game to a standing ovation.
On the night, he hit 19 shots from the floor – all two-point shots - and was 13 of 16 from the charity stripe.
“I’m so happy for Trey, he worked so hard in the offseason and is having a great senior year,” said Thomsen, who finished with one free throw, as he was double teamed for most of the game.
“I know I had the record, but it’s great to see it go to someone like Trey. What he did today may never be topped – 51 points! That’s unbelievable.”
Following the game, Bryant was greeted by fans, friends and family members in the Grain Valley High School commons area.
After posing for photos and exchanging hugs and high fives, he talked about his big night.
“We’re down 26-20 after the first quarter, and I’m like, ‘We better get going or we’re going to lose this game,’” Bryant said. “Then, we really got our offense going, and we played a lot better defense the rest of the game.
The Falcons did not come close to matching their 26-point first quarter as they scored 12 in the second quarter, to take a 38-37 lead into halftime. They scored just 14 points in the second half until Jaden Monday exploded for four 3-pointers in the final 3:45 of the fourth quarter to score a team-high 33 points.
“I was looking at the scoreboard (which lists how many points each individual player has in the game) to see how many fouls I had, and I saw I had 33 points going into the fourth quarter,” Bryant said. “I really never thought about Tully’s record until I looked up and saw I had 40 points – and I wouldn’t have been able to get the record if the guys hadn’t been passing me the ball all night.”
Bryant finished with 12 points in the first quarter, 10 in the second, 11 in the third and 18 in the fourth.
“We were able to weather that early storm where Van Horn was hitting every shot they put up, and we were able to score a lot of points and get a good team win,” Oak Grove coach Ty Hames said. “And I’m super happy for Trey. He worked so hard to become a dominant player and the guys wanted him to break the record. They did a great job getting him the ball.”
Van Horn coach Max Sollars, who worked with Bryant at a summer basketball league camp, also praised Bryant and his teammates.
“If you’re playing a Ty Hames team, you better be ready to play 32 minutes, and we didn’t do that tonight,” Sollars said. “We had the big first quarter, and Jaden played a great game, but we just couldn’t stop Trey.
“It must have been all that great coaching (from me) at the summer camp. No, honestly, I know how hard he’s worked and all that hard work has paid off.”
Brenden Marsh finished with 11 points and Richardson added 10 for the Panthers. Caleb Tanis added 17 for the Falcons.