Grace eliminated from GISA playoff

Published 4:50 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

The Grace Cougars were eliminated from the Georgia Independent School Association state basketball tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 22, when they were beat by Briarwood 55-37.

Grace had entered the tournament as the clear underdog after upsetting two higher seeded teams in the region tournament. After their two wins in the Region tournament, they entered in as the number two seed out of region three, and played the number three-seeded Briarwood out of region four.

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The game was high scoring in the first. Grace and Briarwood both came out firing and went back and forth to end the quarter with Briarwood up by a slim three-point margin. The second quarter was slower, with both teams staying in single digits. Grace scored six points in the quarter and held Briarwood to four, which slimmed Briarwoods lead to only one point heading into halftime.

The third quarter was another dogfight between the two teams. Grace barely nudged ahead in the quarter scoring 11 and holding Briarwood to only 10.

The score was tied heading into the fourth quarter at 33 all. The momentum shifted and Briarwood took off. Grace scored four points in the fourth quarter to Briarwoods 22 to leave a final score of 37 to 55.

“Our guys were in it until the 4th quarter,” said head coach Mallory McRae. “It’s always sad to see the season come to an end. Rob (McRae) and I are so proud of how far this team has come this season.”

Sam McRae led the Cougars in scoring with 13 points and led in rebounding with eight. Jared Duke was the second leading scorer with nine points.

Grace can now look ahead to next November, when they will retake the court with a more experienced team than this year.

“The guys really jelled as a team during the region tournament,” said coach McRae. “We only lose one senior this year. So, I’m expecting big things from our guys next year.”