Grace travelled to Chickamauga Monday evening to face Oakwood Christian and a running clock was prevalent throughout both games. The Grace girls lost by 33, 20-53, and the Grace boys won by 46, 70-24.
In the boys’ matchup, watching the warm-ups between the two teams was all one needed in order to know who was going to come out on top. It was easy to tell that Grace was bigger, stronger, and more skilled than their opponent when watching the teams go through their pre-game routines. Grace Head Coach Darris Waters knew that he needed to keep his team not only focused on the game but also respectful of it.
“I told them to respect your opponent and respect the game. I really feel like we did that. These guys support each other. When the young guys got in and got their chance the bench was supportive.”
The younger guys got every opportunity to show what they could do, as the game got out of hand quickly.
Grace Academy senior point guard Mason Long stands at 6’2 and is strongly built. If Long had been a member of Oakwood, he would have been the biggest player on the team and played down low. Instead, he brought the ball up the court for the Golden Eagles. He constantly drove by the guards of Oakwood with ease on offense either scoring or distributing to the open man. On defense, he wreaked havoc on the inferior guards of Oakwood and forced countless turnovers.
“On offense and defense, he keeps us going. He’s one of our better players and when he isn’t playing well, we struggle. He has a motor that never stops so we look to him for leadership when we are on the court.” Said, Coach Waters.
Long wasn’t the only one clamping down on defense. When the starters and key reserves were benched in the early parts of the third, the young guys picked up right where they left off and continued to convert turnovers into fast break layups.
The overall team effort ended in a 46-point blowout. When looking at the box score one may think Grace ran up the score, but in all honesty, the result was inevitable. The reserve players were better than Oakwood starters and the Grace Starters were lightyears ahead in skill level. Simple on-ball defense was too much for Oakwood to handle as they gave the Golden Eagles the ball again and again in this one.
The girls’ game was nearly the same exact game except for this time in favor of Oakwood Christian, 53-20.
The best player on the court was evident as Oakwood’s Mana Gilchrist dominated all game until her benching in the third due to the blowout. The sophomore forward outscored Grace 26-20 in a 5v5 setting, but in all honesty, she may have scored even more and still won if she had played 1v5 instead and not had teammates to share the ball with.
Her unselfishness was clear and her feel for the game was unmatched. She always seemed to make the right play or extra pass but in reality, the best play was when she was shooting the ball. Gilchrist walked out of the locker room at halftime with 18 points and a jar of pickle juice in hand to prevent cramping, and it’s a wonder that she didn’t because she truly did it all for OCA.
Grace boys now sit at 4-2 on the year and the girls at 3-4.
GRACE 20 20 18 12 - 70
OAKWOOD 4 6 12 2 - 24
GRACE (70) – Pierce Smith 12, Mason Long 10, Knecht 9, Ibrahim 8, Goins 8, Adams 6, Mason 5, Worley 4, Parrott 2, Ivarson 2, Swanson 2
OAKWOOD (24) – Tomo Gilchrist 13, Davis 5, Dempsey 3, Brashier 3
3-POINTER GOALS – Grace 4 (Goins 2, Long, Mason); Oakwood 4 (Dempsey, Brashier, Gilchrist, Davis)
GRACE 8 2 3 7 - 20
OAKWOOD 16 16 16 5 - 53
GRACE (20) – Rush 7, Adams 6, Waldron 5, Cherwonuk 2
OAKWOOD (53) – Mana Gilchrist 26, Avery Green 11, Simpson 5, Pickard 4, Cahill 3, Hall 2, Tindell 2
3-POINT GOALS - Grace 2 (Rush, Adams); Oakwood 2 (Green, Cahill)
(Any questions or comments, contact Jack Gold via email – Goldj2002@yahoo.com or Twitter @jackiebuckets)