Grace Academy Earns First District 5-A Victory
Monday, December 9, 2013
- by Jaime Barrett
As happy as Grace Academy boys’ basketball coach Jon Mattheiss was to see his team earn its first District 5-A victory, he knows Tuesday night’s game wasn’t a typical matchup with rival Silverdale Baptist.
The host Golden Eagles pulled away early on the way to a 60-23 victory against a Silverdale team that is still adjusting to the return of players from its football team. The Seahawks ended their season in the Class 2A state quarterfinals on Nov. 22, and since then have turned their attention to basketball.
“They’re exactly where we were a couple of weeks ago,” Mattheiss said. “They just got all their football players back last week, and chemistry takes a while. We were making all those same mistakes two weeks ago, so I expect they’ll be a lot better in a couple of weeks once they get into the flow of things with their football players.”
The Golden Eagles dropped their first District 5-A game to Copper Basin on Friday, but rebounded with a quick start against the Seahawks on Tuesday. Brandon McQueen opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, and four points and strong defense from Will Slack helped Grace open with an 11-0 run.
“Everybody started out well, but Will Slack had several early steals that really got our defense going,” Mattheiss said. “I told him that was huge to get us started on the right foot by playing really solid defense.”
Blake Savard hit one of the Golden Eagles’ six 3s to give his team a 20-8 advantage at the end of the first period, and Grace extended its lead to 30-15 at the half. The Golden Eagles opened the third quarter with a 10-run that included two 3-pointers, and their bench finished out the 60-23 victory.
Slack and Savard ended the game with 10 points apiece for Grace (3-4, 1-1), while McQueen followed with nine. Mattheiss said his team also benefitted from the play of guard Andrew Godsey, who was playing in his second game after returning from elbow surgery.
“Our ball handling has already been helped by having Andrew back,” the coach said. “He’s only had three practices since coming back, but he’s definitely helped us. He’s one of the kids with a lot of experience from last year, so we’re really excited about having him back, both for his leadership and his ball-handling.”
Godsey’s injury is one of several that have slowed the Golden Eagles in the early part of the season, but Mattheiss said his team is just one player short of returning to full depth. Once that happens, Grace can focus on gaining experience for a group of upperclassmen who are playing more significant roles this season.
“We’re not really young; we’re more inexperienced,” Mattheiss said. “I’ve only got one sophomore playing varsity, and the rest are juniors and seniors. It’s just that most of them haven’t played a lot of varsity minutes. I’ve got a lot of kids playing tons of varsity minutes this year who didn’t even dress varsity last year, or didn’t get in many games. But when you’ve got juniors and seniors, even though the experience isn’t quite there, they’ve got the maturity and that helps a lot.”
Grace will host Red Bank and Hixson in the Golden Eagle Classic this Friday and Saturday, while Silverdale travels to face Copper Basin on Friday.
(E-mail Jaime Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org)
GRACE ACADEMY 60, SILVERDALE BAPTIST 23
Silverdale 8 7 2 6 -- 23
Grace 20 10 14 15 -- 60
Silverdale (23) -- Jordan Delashmitt 10, Walls, Keylon 4, Mossburg, Boggess 7, Hawkins, Huggins, Rogers, Glenn, Marshall 2.
Grace (60) -- Will Slack 10, Roberts 2, Lyons 4, Blake Savard 10, Russell 7, Hughes 7, Armao 2, Godsey 2, McQueen 9, Matheny 4, Cooke 2.
3-point goals: Silverdale 1 (Delashmitt); Grace 6 (Savard 2, Hughes 2, Russell, McQueen).