RUTLEDGE — In Grainger’s three-game winning streak, the Grizzlies averaged almost 70 points a game and were prolific from behind the arc. On Monday, Union County turned the tables.
In the throwback game where Grainger wore their Rutledge jerseys and Union County donned the Horace Maynard Devils black and red jerseys, the visitors from Maynardville were the ones with the hot hand as they downed Grainger 67-53.
The Patriots-or Devils as they were called on Monday- found a great deal of success in their zone. The Grizzlies had connected on 21 three-pointers in the last two games, but only had five on Monday. “Union County does a really good job in their zone” Grainger coach Adam Wolfenbarger said. “We knew it and we talked about it and we just weren’t tough enough with the ball tonight as they took it away from us a lot. They did a good job helping out with their hands and it seemed like when we got open shots, we didn’t knock them down”.
Eli Eads had 15 points for Union County and Seth Bates added 14. Luke Jones led Grainger with 17 points and Jaxon Williams had 12.
Every time Grainger appeared to be in the process of a comeback, the Patriots had an answer and Wolfenbarger said their ability to find success at the bucket was one of the keys to victory.
“They countered and made tough shots at the rim. It seemed like it was one of those nights where every loose ball ended up right at Union County’s feet. Part of that was because they were outplaying us so all the credit goes to them because they played tougher and deserved to win the ball game.”
The first two periods were extremely close as the two teams were tied four times and swapped the lead another six. After Union County built a 14-13 lead at the end of one, Williams gave his team the lead with a three to begin the second period.
Jones, who had scored six points in the opening eight minutes of play, added five more in the second and Grainger only trailed by a possession at the midgame break, 27-24.
Brody Grubb promptly gave Grainger the lead with a three to begin the second half and the game remained close for the next several minutes. Two free throws by Ty Overbay with 65 seconds remaining pulled the Grizzlies to within a point at 39-38 but that was a close as they could get in the third.
Trailing 42-38 as the fourth period began, Grainger fell victim to an 8-0 run by Union County. Overbay scored four straight to cut into the deficit but the Patriots were able to get to the free throw line nine times in the final five minutes and made them count, hitting eight. The Grizzlies were never able to recover and dropped the 67-53 decision.
Grainger plays at Cumberland Gap this evening with tip-off set for 8 p.m.
JEFFERSON COUNTY 33
Morristown West took a double-digit lead in the opening quarter and never relinquished it Monday night against Jefferson County at Morristown West High School. The Trojans down the visiting Patriots 52-33.
Morristown West got 19 points from Ty Steisslinger and 16 from Rylin King.
T.J. Allen contributed nine points.
Morristown West used a furious 20-point final period to down Grainger Saturday in freshmen basketball action.
Rylin King led the Trojans with 16 points. Ty Steisslinger scored 15 and T.J. Allen contributed nine.
Branson led Grainger with 20 points. L. Johnson scored 12.