MAYNARDVILLE – Grainger head coach Adam Wolfenbarger knew that once his team put all the pieces together, they were going to be a very dangerous group. After near misses against North Greene and CAK earlier in the season, everything clicked for the Grizzlies on Tuesday night as they nailed nine 3-pointers and overcame a halftime deficit to beat Union County, 65-55.
Brody Grubb had the hot hand for the Grizzlies as he hit a three to either begin or end three of the four periods and finished the game with 18 points, all coming on three’s. Wolfenbarger said he was happy to see his senior shooter have a big night against the Patriots.
“The one he had to start the fourth was lights out,” Wolfenbarger said in reference to the triple Grubb hit on the first play of the final frame that gave the Grizzlies a double-digit lead. “It was a good set that we worked on and we executed it. I thought it was going to be there and it was and Brody steps in there and makes it. We have seen him make those and I knew those types of shots were coming. He made big shot after big shot tonight.”
Jaxon Williams scored 13 points for Grainger and Emmanuel Atkins added 12 more. “Emmanuel did a good job handling the basketball tonight and Jaxon got some big shots,” Wolfenbarger said. “I thought we shared the ball better than we have all season. We need to share the ball and keep it moving. Logan Foster was fantastic to start the game as he made shots like they were nothing I had to give him a break but put him back in and it was like he didn’t miss a beat. I am really proud of him.”
Grubb hit the first of his six long-range shots to begin the game and then capped the first period when he swished an NBA-range three pointer to put Grainger ahead 17-10. Union County battled back in the second period by scoring eight points at one point and stretched the run to 17-5 at one point as they climbed back on top 31-26 at halftime. Grubb ended the half with another three.
The Grizzlies are usually a man-to-man defensive team but Wolfenbarger decided to go to a zone to begin the second half and the strategy worked to perfection. Grainger’s defense stymied the Patriots’ offense at every angle and limited the home team to a meager six points in the third period. “I can get comfortable in a man-to-man defense but we made the switch to zone at halftime and that gave us a good changeup,” Wolfenbarger said of the switch in defense. “They got some shots but didn’t make them. We did a good job of competing on the glass and we played hard.”
Grainger matched their defensive intensity with success on the other end of the court as they hit three arc shots in the third and got an old fashioned three-point play on a hoop and harm by Landon Patterson as time expired to make the score 44-37 headed to the fourth.
Any hopes of a Union County comeback died on the first play of the fourth period as Grubb connected on his sixth and final three of the night to put Grainger up by 10 points. The Patriots were forced to foul late and the Grizzlies made them pay as they were true on nine free throws in the final three minutes to make the final tally 65-55.
The friendly confines of The Den await the Grizzlies in their next game as they will take to their home court for the first time this season when they host Greeneville Friday night. It will be another tough matchup for Grainger but Wolfenbarger said his team never shies away from a challenge. “Our guys will be ready. Greeneville is a really good team but I think we are too when we play. We have played tough teams and that’s what we always want to do. I told these guys we have set a standard here and we won’t be able to play cupcakes because we have been too good in the past and we always want to play good teams and that’s where we are at.”