Just in case the Harris County Tigers weren’t paying attention the first time around, LaGrange High beat the boys from Hamilton for the second time in less than a month.
The second of those defeats for Harris County came in the third round of the Toyota Basketball Classic on Friday night. LaGrange High slapped a 69-39 defeat on the Patavious Sorrell- coached team only weeks after the Grangers eased past the Tigers, 7568 in overtime in Hamilton.
It doesn’t matter where the boys basketball game is played, LaGrange High knows how to beat Harris County. The Tigers head coach even refused to be interviewed after the game. Sorrell was too busy sulking.
LaGrange High was in a much better mood after yet another win over the very confused and slightly dazed Tigers from Harris County. The Grangers record would climb to 9-4 on this tournament night at LaGrange High.
“We were pushing the tempo. We were feeling it. We executed, and we wanted to keep them off the boards,” said the Grangers senior superstar, Bo Russell, who was hitting his head on the rafters all night.
He was on a different level than everyone else. Seldom did LaGrange High have an offensive possession without Russell touching the ball. Russell brought his best basketball skills to this tournament contest.
The 6-foot Russell was dishing. He was cleaning the glass. He was playing with his chin above the rim, and Russell was leading. And the Grangers followed.
Russell got all of his teammates involved in the game. Russell played with an extra dose of energy. The Grangers were almost always a step ahead of the Tigers.
LaGrange High out-rebounded Harris County. LaGrange High out-defended Harris County.
The Grangers outscored the Tigers. The Grangers outhustled the Tigers, and LaGrange High outplayed Harris County. The Tigers hesitated while the Grangers dictated. LaGrange High took the shortest route to the basket.
And the Grangers were fast breaking all night long. LaGrange High wore out the Tigers. Harris County led just twice, both times in the first three minutes of the game.
After that the LaGrange High boys made the Tigers play at their pace, and Harris County was most uncomfortable doing that. The Tigers were out of sorts and usually two steps behind, thanks to the Grangers.
“We defended well. We rebounded well, and we took some charges. No. 1 (Jordan Ogletree) stepped up for us. He hit a couple of shots,” said LaGrange High head basketball coach Mark Veal.
The Grangers went from a 6-5 deficit to a 21-8 lead in the first quarter. All that took was a suffocating defense, a torrid offense and a yearning to run the floor. LaGrange High had one of its first leads of the game at 9-6, with a Russell layup included.
Sophomore guard Talique Williams of Harris County came right back with his own version of a layup. But after that came a Russell dunk and an Ogletree fastbreak bucket for a 138 Granger lead.
Ogletree, the junior forward for LaGrange High, retained his shooting touch with a three-pointer on the way. Jalen Watson drained another three-pointer for the Grangers for a 19-8 LHS lead.
Russell would soon go flying downcourt as well for a layup with 28 seconds left in the first period. LaGrange High had a nice lead of 21-8.
Harris County still wasn’t convinced. The Tigers scored down on the block from senior forward Andrew Grier. Harris County shaved the Granger lead to 11. Grier would score again only minutes later.
But the LaGrange High boys got back in the groove with a Covan Huzzie threepointer and a Russell putback, which was followed by a Russell free throw. The Granger lead was 14 all of a sudden.
Russell kept bringing the heavy artillery with two straight three-point field goals. LaGrange High was off and gunning with a 33-16 lead. Grier did score on a layup to close out the second quarter for the Tigers.
But Harris County was barely hanging on, and then the Tigers weren’t. Over the next eight minutes, La- Grange High went on a 23-7 run to pull away with a 56-25 advantage in the third period.
Ogletree bagged a threepointer. Russell scored on a layin. He would streak downcourt for another fast break hoop. Granger senior forward Daz Williams dropped in a three-pointer for a 45-19 LaGrange High advantage.
Huzzie also found the three-point range for the Grangers. Jalen Watson would sink one more threepoint bomb for LaGrange High. Granger senior guard Jay Benton knocked down a three-pointer as well. Jalen Parker would score for the Grangers, too, on a putback for a 21-point LHS lead.
The game was all over except for some fourth quarter high-fiving from the Grangers.TaliqueWilliams did shoot on through for a layup for Harris County, but the Tigers could not stop the onslaught from the Grangers with an Earley Sanders tip in, a Marquis Cox putback, a Sanders layup and a Vondez Taylor basket.
Cox, the junior forward, would also drain two free throws to give the Grangers a 30-point lead with 19.6 seconds left.
Harris County was no match for LaGrange High, which scored from every conceivable angle with 22 points from Bo Russell, nine points from Huzzie, eight points from Jordan Ogletree, six points from Jalen Watson, six points from Daz Williams and five points from Taylor.
“We communicated. We helped out, and we played as a team. We shot the ball with confidence,” said Ogletree.
The Harris County Tigers, who stumbled to 4-9, played hard, too. Harris County was led with 14 points each from Andrew Grier and the 5-foot-8 Talique Williams.