The surprising Grain Valley boys basketball team made it look easy in claiming a victory over Odessa in the opening round of the Grain Valley Eagle Sonic Showdown.
The surprising Grain Valley boys basketball team made it look easy in claiming a 62-45 victory over Odessa in the opening round of the Grain Valley Eagle Sonic Showdown.
“We’re not the most intimidating team you’re ever going to play,” Eagles coach Andy Herbert said Tuesday night after his fifth-seeded team improved to 9-6 and won its fifth game in a row. “But no team is going to work harder than this one – especially on the defensive end of the court.”
Eagles guard Derreon Parker backed his coach’s statement.
“We better work hard,” the sophomore said, “or coach will get after us. Oh, will he get after us. But we like to work hard. Look at us – we’re not very big. We better work hard or it will be a long night.”
Parker hit a long 3-point shot at the buzzer to give the Eagles a 16-9 first-quarter lead.
“We fought hard for the rebound and got it with about five seconds left on the clock and Derek Bowlin did a great job to get the ball to Derreon,” Herbert said. “And then, Derreon did the rest. How many times have we seen him do that this season? We’re surprised when he doesn’t make that shot.”
Fourth-seeded Odessa, which had a tremendous height advantage over the Eagles, scored 14 points in the second quarter, but still trailed 31-23 at halftime.
“We wanted to come out and stop them in the third quarter,” Grain Valley’s T.J. Cosper said. “We knew if we could get off to a good start in the third quarter, we could build on our lead.”
And that’s exactly what the Eagles did.
Cosper hit his second 3-pointer of the game at 5:14 of the third quarter to give Grain Valley a 45-30 lead and the rout was on.
“When I got the ball, I saw I was open and I was hitting some long shots, so I thought, ‘Why not shoot it?’ ” Cosper said, grinning, after he finished with 10 points. “That was fun. It was a fun game because it’s our tournament, both teams had a lot of fans here, and we really played well.
“But 3-point shots didn’t win the game for us. Hustle and defense won it.”
Odessa (8-6) scored just 22 points in the second half and never got the score closer than that 15-point deficit.
“We better not let them back in the game, after worked so hard to get that big lead,” said Parker, who finished with nine points and six assists. “We wanted to make Odessa work for everything they got.
“They were a lot bigger than us, so we really worked hard down low. We weren’t going to let any of their big men get easy baskets.”
While the Bulldogs struggled, Cody Sanning, Grain Valley’s 6-foot-2 center, scored a game-high 21 points and hauled down 11 rebounds.
“It’s a team win,” Sanning said. “We all worked hard for this win. This is our tournament and we want to get to the championship game. That’s everyone’s goal.”
The Eagles play Pleasant Hill at 6 p.m. Thursday in a winner’s bracket semifinal at the high school.
LINCOLN PREP 77, OAK GROVE 69: Oak Grove had a tough time with Lincoln Prep’s athleticism in the first round of the Grain Valley Eagle Sonic Showdown Thursday.
Ethan Sticken scored 24 points, while Marc Day added 23 for Oak Grove (5-10. But four Lincoln Prep players scored in double figures, led by Nick Jackson’s 27.
“Lincoln Prep was a very athletic team,” Panthers coach Jerry Girdner said. “We were right with them every quarter. Our post players did a great job.”