Truman coach Rodd Briggs knew full well what the Patriots were in for Thursday. He didn’t know how flat at times they would be.
Grandview Christian, a mystery to most area high-school basketball fans, made itself known in the William Jewell Holiday Classic when it upended the Patriots 61-59 in overtime in a Patterson Division opener. Now more people know what Briggs found out about the Eagles.
“I’d seen them play twice and I had three films on them,” Briggs said. “We had them scouted well. They’re way under-seeded and they’re pretty talented.”
Grandview Christian (11-6) hadn’t played a school as big as Truman this season, but the Eagles have a big-school talent in Josue Grullon. A 6-foot-4 junior forward, Grullon scored 30 points on 13-for-21 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. The Eagles have size, with six players 6-4 or taller in their lineup, and they can shoot – Grandview Christian went 23 for 39 (59 percent) from the field.
“We took them lightly,” Truman senior guard Kaimen Lennox said. “We didn’t think they were a threat.”
Truman (5-2) made only 18 of 56 shots and 15 of 24 free throws, with many misses coming down the stretch. Lennox scored 25 points, but he was 10 of 17 from the line and the only Patriot in double figures.
As Briggs saw it, most of the Patriots’ problems were self-inflicted.
“We should have won the game,” Briggs said. “We just didn’t make free throws, we made turnovers … not much went our way and we still had a chance to win it.”
Truman opened a 12-point lead early in the third quarter and led 45-34 before Grandview Christian ended the period with a 6-0 run. Grullon ended the run with two transition baskets that pulled the Eagle within 45-40.
Truman opened the fourth quarter by missing its first six shots but still led 56-51 after two Lennox free throws with 44 seconds to play. The Eagles closed to 56-54 with an and-one, and Grullon tied it with a putback after the Patriots lost the ball at midcourt with 23 seconds left.
“We were our own worst enemies today,” Briggs said. “We can give credit to Grandview Christian, but we let it slip away.”
Truman let it slip away by making only three of six free throws and no field goals in overtime. Grullon opened overtime with a 3-pointer that put Grandview Christian ahead for good, and Lennox ended it with a missed three.
“The second half we showed up, but in the third quarter we let up,” Lennox said. “I’ll take blame for the missed free throws, but we really lost the game ourselves.”
Truman, whose two losses this season both came in overtime, will try to right itself Friday afternoon with a noon consolation round game against Blue Springs. Blue Springs lost to Ruskin 69-64 in double overtime.
Grandview 68, Oak Park 37
Rockhurst 55, St. Joe Central 25
Liberty 63, Winnetonka 49