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Cold shooting dooms Eagles in Sonic Showdown final

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net

The shots were there all night for the Grain Valley girls basketball team.

“The thing is, you have to make them,” pointed out coach Randy Draper, after his Eagles fell 49-33 to Barstow in the title game of the 23rd annual Grain Valley Sonic Showdown Friday.

“We had the shots, we had a lot of good looks at the basket, but they just weren’t falling for us tonight. But you know what? We played a quality basketball team, and after we look at the video, all that’s going to do is make us a better basketball team.

“And we play another great team in William Chrisman Monday night. Back to back tough games – all that will do is make us a better team.”

The Eagles trailed just 11-10 after one quarter as sophomore Grace Slaughter, who entered the game needing 20 points to reach 1,000 for her career, scored eight points.

Grain Valley's Ella Clyman, Grace Slaughter and Gabbi Keim pose with their all-tournament medals after the Eagles' 49-33 loss to Barstow in the Sonic Showdown championship Friday.

That’s when the Knights (10-4) collapsed two and sometimes three players to defend the 6-foot-1 guard, who finished with 15 points.

“They made it tough all night on Grace,” Draper said. “They made it tough for all our players.”

Draper respected the Knights’ effort because he said that’s exactly what he wants his team to do to frustrate its opponents.

“What we try to do is speed the game up so teams aren’t playing in their comfort zone,” Draper said. “When they began to speed the game up, we weren’t ready, and I think that’s why we missed so many open shots.

“But that’s something we will address at practice. You never want to lose, but this is a game we can learn a lot from.”

Grain Valley managed just two points in the second quarter and trailed 18-13 at halftime, which brought a quick quip from Draper, who said, “They only had 18 points at halftime. But we only had 13, and that’s not a good thing.”

Jaylen Glenn and her twin sister Brylee have both committed to play basketball at Kansas State. Jaylen scored nine of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter.

A three-point play gave the Knights their first double-digit lead, 30-20 at 1:43 of the third quarter.

Barstow’s 5-2 freshman guard, Holly Woods, dropped three 3-pointers on the Eagles and scored 13 points.

The Eagles’ Slaughter, Ella Clyman and Gabbi Keim were all named to the all-tournament team, along with the Glenn twins and Woods.