The Claiborne boy’s team hosted the Grainger County Grizzlies January 24 and just like the girl’s team they had a daunting task ahead of them. Grainger is a tall and athletic team that can put the points on the board. Claiborne had won two out of the last three games and according to head coach Brian O’Dell Claiborne had to play hard to stay with the Grizzlies.
“We’ve just got to come out on the floor and not worry about them but do the things we have to. We need to play within ourselves, play hard and not get upset tonight,” said O’Dell.
The game began with the two teams both putting a basket up on the board. After being tied at two, the Grizzlies first run began and they led 9-2 forcing O’Dell into a time out. Four empty Bulldogs possessions was all it took for Grainger to pull away and lead at the end of the first 23-10.
Claiborne tried to rally during the second period but each time Grainger had an answer. Claiborne’s effort on the defensive end along with heavy rebounding helped them pull to within seven with just a few minutes left to halftime. At the half the visitors enjoyed a 35-22 advantage.
The Bulldogs were not ready to roll over as they quickly forced a time out and then a turnover to start the third. Grainger came back and passed the ball with a quickness that allowed them to knock down open threes. Despite the efforts from the entire Bulldogs team, The Grizzlies pulled on away and at the 3:24 mark enjoyed a 20 point lead. Grainger continued to find success with the three ball and led after three periods, 55-31.
It was going to take a Herculean effort for Claiborne to come back in the fourth period and but the visiting team did not allow it on this night. In high school basketball the first team to 60 points usually wins and the Grizzlies were able to reach that mark and seal the deal for another win against only a handful of losses. The final score was 71-34.
Leading the Bulldogs in scoring was Hunter Rosenbalm with seven, two Bulldogs had five each Evan Ickes and Houston Hatfield. Four Bulldogs had four points each: Ty Stone, Elijah Beason, Matthew Walker and Jacob Runions. Jacob Williams rounded out the scoring with a single point.
Grainger was led by Nathan Hayes who dropped in the game high 17 points. Jacob Bunch also had double figures with 11.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @ pitchadude.