HS Boys Basketball: Grand Oaks Defends Homecourt to Secure First District Win of the Season

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 12/05/2023


SPRING, TX -- The Grand Oaks Grizzlies (5-11) outpaced and outlasted the visiting Caney Creek Panthers (1-8) 63-48 in both teams’ second game of district play.

It was a lengthy previous week for both programs as they opened district play in tandem with a week-ending tournament.

The week saw minimal success for both teams, but a victory against Conroe got Caney Creek’s district play started on the right foot in contrast to Grand Oaks’ defeat at the hands of College Park.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Grand Oaks Head Coach Michael Day spoke on the difficulties and challenges of beginning district under such tight scheduling.

“We’ve had a really tough schedule,” said Day. “It grew us up very quickly since we’ve got a lot of new faces even though we have a couple of guys with experience.”

Recovery from a tough week and a lack of open looks for either team contributed to the slow-paced scoring that opened the game.

Grand Oaks’ success in the first quarter was more than their opponent's due to size disparity in the paint that benefited the Grizzlies.

Reliable rebounders in the form of Grand Oaks’ Jadyn Murray and Raylon Scroggins allowed for second-chance looks to come close to the basket or to pass to open shooters around the arch.

The work done on the offensive and defensive glass by the forwards and centers of Grand Oaks did not work to the fullest advantage of the Grizzlies, who often passed on open looks down low.

“We still need to do a better job,” said Day about the use of his big men. “We’ve got to learn how to take advantage of some of our weapons a little bit better.”

Despite their disadvantage at the post, Caney Creek ball-handlers fearlessly drove inside for layups that often hit their mark. Pump-fakes and passes around defenders enabled the Panthers to inch close to the Grizzlies on the scoreboard, ending the first quarter down 18-11.

The Panthers kept up their first-quarter momentum into the second by quickly breaking Grand Oaks’ full-court press. Breaking it with numbers to their advantage set up shooters with wide-open looks for buckets that drew the teams even at 18 with six minutes left in the half.

Substitutions from the Grizzlies attempted to spark the stagnant offense that had not scored in four minutes.

The fresh legs secured a drought-ending bucket for Grand Oaks and reasserted the full-court pressure that gave the team its initial lead. Select starters also returned to the rotation, bringing rested veterans into a situation where they could stretch the lead further.

“Credit to our kids coming off the bench,” said Day. “We had [Jadyn] Murray come off the bench trying to get some things with our height.”

Another concerted effort from the Panthers and a team-high five-point quarter from C.J. Guillary saw them draw within three possessions before the half ended with them down 31-24.

The Grizzlies resumed their press as soon as the third quarter began, resulting in three straight transition buckets for the team.

“It helped raise the tempo,” said Day about his team’s defensive pressure. “It’s to our advantage to get up and down and try to make it a full-court game. That was the biggest thing the press gave us.”

Like they had done all game, Caney Creek responded by utilizing their speed in the face of Grand Oaks’ size, working the ball quickly down the floor before the Grizzlies could get set defensively.

The Panthers’ speed found them with a one to two-man advantage on the fastbreak, allowing shooters at the three-point line to get easy scores in open space. The scoring became such a hindrance that Grand Oaks was forced to call a timeout to stop Caney Creek’s momentum.

The timeout swung the momentum back into the Grizzlies, who extended their lead behind lights-out shooting from behind the three-point line. It was back-to-back threes from Grand Oaks’ Trevion Ogburn, who finished the quarter with eight total, that saw the Grizzlies take a 53-40 lead into the final quarter.

In desperate need of points, the Panthers took any open look that came their way on offense while playing a tight-knit defense. This style of play saw Caney Creek score six uncontested points through the midway point of the fourth, inching them closer to a tie.

Luckily for Grand Oaks, their lead, paired with a series of fastbreak points, propelled them across the finish line despite Caney Creek’s best efforts.

The Grizzlies exited with the 63-48 win to notch the team’s first win in district play.

“Hopefully it will give us a little momentum,” said Day. “The big thing about district play is you got to win your home games and steal a few on the road. We were able to hold our serve at home, and we've got to be able to continue that.”

The Grizzlies will look to continue their success on Saturday against Lake Creek, while the Panthers lick their wounds and face College Park next Tuesday.

Comments •
Log In to Comment