Neither team was out of it.
There were multiple moments towards the end of Saturday morning’s 2A clash where both Clarendon (25-4) and Grapeland (29-2) should’ve lost the chance to win. But each time, someone scrapped their way back into it to make it a game again.
It wasn’t until Donovan Thompson’s layup from a full-court pass in the waning seconds that put Clarendon up four that the Broncos could finally breathe. They’d secured the program’s first 2A state title, 64-60.
“In games like this you just never know,” Clarendon head coach Boston Hudson said. “You just got to keep your composure. We were a little frustrated, Jmaury (Davis) thought he was straight up on the And-1 and Jmaury came over frustrated, but hey we’re in the game.
“It was back-and-forth for what seemed like the last four minutes of the game.”
Davis’ foul with under a minute left should’ve been another turning point. Grapeland’s top scorer, BJ Lamb, had just fouled out, minutes after their other senior guard Keizion Ashford also fouled out and Grapeland struggled without their two veteran guards. But Cadarian Wiley’s layup, with Davis’ foul, gave the Sandies a sign of life just after losing two of their top players.
With the game tied and 15 seconds left, Clarendon guard Lamarcus Penigar swiped the ball from Grapeland’s Riley Murchison that led to the layup that gave Clarendon the lead for good.
“There’s no game, there’s no time in your life where things go bad and it’s one person’s fault. That’s just not true,” Grapeland head coach Blake Doughty said. “Every one of us, including myself, had opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on throughout the game.
“Anybody who gets to this point and doesn’t reach the top of the mountain is disappointed. But I’m so proud of these guys and the humans that they are.”
Thompson finished with a game-high 21 points and connected on the game’s lone 3-point bucket as the first half expired.
“I don’t even think I shot it with any real form, I just threw it up,” Thompson said. “I got trigger happy and started missing a whole bunch, but thankfully these guys cleaned up the mess.”
Grapeland made just one field goal attempt after Ashford and Lamb fouled out. Both seniors finished with 19 points and four rebounds. Wiley ended with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
“I don’t know if there really is any stopping that kid, (Lamb),” Hudson said. “We just wanted to contain him. And Wiley is so athletic and just tried to keep him off the boards. It wasn’t perfect but it was enough to get the job done.”