They were more than ready.
They were abusive. They were dominating. They were thorough and conclusive.
But above all, the La-Grange High boys were relentless in a net-stuffing kind of way last Tuesday night. The Grangers went out and took Houston County apart, piece-by-piece and quarter-by-quarter.
What that ultimately meant for LaGrange High was a pre-Thanksgiving basketball feast to the tune of a 75-44 LHS victory in the Granger gym. LaGrange High gave the Bears no hope, no chance and very few buckets in this non-region game.
“We got in the gym, and we picked up our intensity. Everyone worked together. We are improving,” said Grangers senior forward Quez Jackson.
He and LaGrange High did have a hearty appetite in this Nov. 22 basketball game. The Grangers hit the Bears between the eyes with a suffocating defense, including steal after steal, as well as some heavy lifting when it came to rebounding.
LaGrange High did it all. One thing did lead to the other for the Grangers, who shot their record up to 2-0. And, yes, LaGrange High did shoot well. Senior forward Bryan Fanning got a layin for LHS in period No. 1.
Junior guard Bo Russell came back with a fastbreak layin for the Grangers. Laperion Perry, the LHS senior guard, scored on a putback in the first quarter.
Jackson was around the rim as well for the Grangers as he hit a layup. LaGrange High ended the first period with a 21-6 advantage.
“Our teamwork was good. Our chemistry was good, and our shot selection was good. We did finish (at the rim),” said LaGrange head boys basketball coach Mark Veal.
The Grangers also stuffed Houston County like a Thanksgiving turkey. It was more of the same in the second period as LaGrange High went on a 22-12 spurt to take a 43-18 lead.
This was a six-course meal for the Grangers. La-Grange High got an 8-foot jumper from senior guard Gabe Duckett early in the second period. Count it. After that came a Jackson layup.
LaGrange High’s Daz Williams made a home delivery, too, with a steal and a layup with 4:13 left in the first half. The Grangers led 31-8. Jarious Freeman, the 5-foot-6 senior guard, played big, too, with a three-point hoop.
Quez Jackson came back with two more layups. The Granger onslaught would continue with a Kenan Gray putback. Seconds later, Perry scored on a layin for the LaGrange High boys. The Grangers held a 25-point advantage at 43-18 as they headed to halftime.
The game was pretty much on ice, along with a couple of Cokes and a halfdozen sport drinks. Choose a flavor. LaGrange High did something pretty similar in the third period as senior forward Bryan Fanning converted a layin for a 4920 LHS lead.
In the remaining minutes of the game there would be putbacks, dunks and even a 5-foot jumper from La- Grange junior guard Covan Huzzie. It was a blowout all the way, and the Grangers enjoyed every basket.
The Houston County Bears, now 0-1, did not particularly care for their season-opening game in LaGrange, however. Two thousand fans watched. Most of them liked what they saw.
But Bears head basketball coach Stephen Walls has had better nights on the hardwood.
“LaGrange outrebounded us. They took good shots, and we didn’t. LaGrange is solid. They are disciplined and well coached,” said Walls, who played college basketball at Point University (from 2001-2005).
Houston County did get 16 points from senior guard Amari Colbert. Kendall Green, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, banked in five points for the Bears.
LaGrange High had balanced scoring with 12 points from Jackson, 10 points from Gray, seven points from Freeman and Perry, and six points from Duckett and Daz Williams. Fanning also netted six points for the Grangers.
Bo Russell had a productive night, too, for LHS with seven points.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer