Grace outlasts All Saints in OT, 53-51


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Grace Community's Verlo Levels (4) shoots against All Saints during their game at UT Tyler's Herrington Patriot Center on Saturday. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Grace Community's Trevor Gunter (5) shoots while All Saints' Jaired Maddox (22) and Aston Francis (2) attempt to block during their game at UT Tyler's Herrington Patriot Center on Saturday. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Grace Community's Verlo Levels (4) shoots against All Saints during their game at UT Tyler's Herrington Patriot Center on Saturday. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Grace Community's Trevor Gunter (5) looks for an opening to pass around All Saints' Brice Borgeson (35) during their game at UT Tyler's Herrington Patriot Center on Saturday. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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After Trevor Gunter missed a free throw that would have put Grace Community ahead 1 with 16 seconds to go, he came back to the bench with a message to his team.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry guys, but we’ve got this; we’re going to win the game,’” Cougars coach Neal Welch said of his sophomore post.

Gunter then helped Grace do just that, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks as the Cougars topped All Saints 53-51 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at the Herrington Patriot Center.

The win gave Grace (14-13) the fifth seed in the TAPPS 2-4A tournament while All Saints (21-13) fell to the sixth seed.

The Trojans will host Bishop Gorman at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Cougars will welcome Dallas Shelton at 7:30 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the Lady Cougars, who play Dallas Parish Episcopal at 6 p.m.

Grace won two straight seeding playoffs over Tyler rivals with Gunter the game’s top scorer each time. After going 7 for 9 for 18 points in the Cougars’ win over the Crusaders on Thursday, he hit 8 of 12 shots on Saturday.

“His dad played college basketball; he has it in his blood,” Welch said. “He’s a basketball- only kid and all he wants to do is get better.

“He’s good about keeping his emotions inside and just playing the game of basketball the way it should be played.”

With 16 seconds left, Phillip McKinney drove the lane and dished to Gunter, who tied the game at 44 despite contact.

After Gunter missed the ensuing free throw, the Trojans had a chance to win the game, but could not get a shot off. The scenario was similar to how All Saints lost to Grace earlier in the year, when the Trojans trailed by 2 in the waning seconds before McKinney stole the ball and the win, also 53-51.

“I guess I didn’t coach them well enough to do exactly what we said,” said All Saints coach Eddie Francis, who took the blame.

“Neal did a good job of switching defenses to change up the look and I don’t know if it confused us or I just wasn’t clear, but you gotta get a shot off there. That hurt us.”

All Saints took a 46-44 lead 19 seconds into overtime before Grace mounted a 5-0 burst to give them a 3-point lead, tied for their biggest of the game. Spencer Ball, who scored all seven of All Saints’ points in overtime and finished with 12, scored on a put back to pull the Trojans within 49-48 with 43 seconds to go.

But as Grace hit 4 of 6 free throws in the final minute, All Saints was unable to score again until Ball hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer when the game had already been decided.

Brice Borgeson had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Trojans, who held the game’s largest lead at 15-10 in the second quarter. Clayton Smith scored all the points in a 7-2 All Saints run that put his team up 38-34.

The Cougars came back with a 6-0 run that included a pair of jumpers from Andrew Melhart before the Trojans countered with a 6-0 run of their own. Gunter then scored the final four points of regulation to send the game to overtime.

“I think it’s two evenly matched teams,” Francis said. “I’m sure coach Welch feels like if they play well they can beat us and we feel the same way. Unfortunately it hasn’t bounced our way.”

Grace, which received nine points, seven boards and five assists from Verlo Levels, shot 47 percent two days after hitting 53 percent. Likewise, the Cougars shooting defense stood out. After allowing 26 percent on Thursday, Grace held All Saints to 31 percent, including 22 percent from long range.

“We went into our matchup 12 zone where we really have big time ball pressure wherever the ball is and I think that forced them to, they had to take a lot of permiter shot,” Welch said.

The Cougars were motivated to get another crack at Shelton, which won the first meeting 70-49 on Jan. 15. Grace wanted to move the game because the team’s juniors were away on a trip, but Shelton didn’t budge and the Cougars played without four starters.

“With our entire team, we think, obviously it’s a different team,” Welch said. “We’re going to be excited to see them again and we’re going to see them at our home court.”

The Trojans meanwhile play Gorman, which they beat 42-27 on Feb. 1.

“I was hoping today would be the last day that we had to play a Tyler opponent,” Francis said. “I know we’ve got to play Gorman. If seeds hold true we may get Grace down the road.”

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TAPPS 2-4A Seeding Playoff

Grace Community 53, All Saints 51, OT

Grace         8  15  9  12  9 — 53

All Saints 12  12  9  11  7 — 51

GRACE — Verlo Levels, 9; Trevor Gunter, 19; Phillip McKinney, 9; Andrew Melhart, 5; Levi Crozier, 3; Call Florence, 2; Tanner Starr, 6. FG: 21-45. FT: 11-20.

ALL SAINTS — Aston Francis, 6; Luke Lee, 5; Clayton Smith, 7; Spencer Ball, 12; Jaired Maddox, 6; Brice Borgeson, 15. FG: 15-49. FT: 13-18.

THREE POINT GOALS — GC (0-7): none. AS (4-18): Francis (2), Ball (2).

RECORDS — Grace 14-13; All Saints 21-13.

NEXT UP — Dallas Shelton at Grace, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; Bishop Gorman at All Saints, 6 p.m. Tuesday.


TAPPS 2-4A Basketball Tournament

Girls

First round at higher seed; Feb. 15-16 at Whitehouse’s Wildcat Arena

Feb. 12

Game 1: No. 9 Dallas Shelton at No. 4 Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill

Game 2: No. 8 All Saints at No. 5 Waco Reicher, 6 p.m.

Game 3: No. 7 Dallas Parish Episcopal at No. 6 Grace Community, 6 p.m.

Feb. 15

Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. No. 3 Carrollton Prince of Peace

Feb. 16

Fifth-Place Game: Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 5, noon

Third-Place Game: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 3 p.m.

Championship Game: No. 2 Dallas Christian vs. No. 1 Bishop Gorman, 6 p.m.

Note: Top five teams make playoffs

 

Boys

First round at higher seed; Feb. 15-16 at Whitehouse’s Wildcat Arena

Feb. 12

Game 1: No. 9 Waco Reicher at No. 4 Carrollton Prince of Peace

Game 2: No. 8 Dallas Shelton at No. 5 Grace Community, 7:30 p.m.

Game 3: No. 7 Bishop Gorman at No. 6 All Saints, 6 p.m.

Feb. 15

Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. No. 3 Dallas Parish Episcopal

Feb. 16

Fifth-Place Game: Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 5, 1:30 p.m.

Third-Place Game: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5

Championship Game: No. 2 Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill vs. No. 1 Dallas Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Note: Top five teams make playoffs