Grady, Logan split district doubleheader

Grady’s #10 Colt Grau, right, and Logan’s #51 Austin Whetton, left, battle for the ball during the first half of Thursday’s District 4-1A boys contest at Grady.  The Grady Bronchos lost to Logan 71-55. CNJ correspondent: Martha Hardwick

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

GRADY — Thoughts of tying up the District 4-1A boys basketball race may have danced through the minds of the Grady players entering a Thursday night home contest with Logan. But those flights of fancy diminished as soon as the visiting Longhorns opened up a 9-2 lead in the first two minutes of play.

Logan (19-4, 8-0 district) mostly maintained that advantage, though seeing it shrink down to four points on a couple of occasions in the first quarter, to stay unbeaten in district. The Longhorns were led by senior Jake Abercrombie’s 29 points while 6-foot-4 junior Austin Whetton added 15.

Abercrombie and Whetton, Logan’s primary inside threats, were often the beneficiaries of passes from senior guard Drew Perez, who finished with 13 points and seven assists.

“Their big kids, they just totally dominate inside. We talked about that — that we had to keep them off the boards,” Grady coach Jim Kneipp said. “We cut it (the lead) to eight with two minutes left in the game, then we throw it away three times in a row.”

Grady (12-11, 6-2) had cut a 15-point deficit to 61-53 after a 9-2 run. But a putback shot from Whetten, followed by a Abercrombie bucket, put an end to the last threat from the Bronchos.

Senior Colt Grau led Grady with 15 points while sophomore Brian Blackburn and senior Domingo Diaz contributed 12 and 11 respectively.

In first game of the doubleheader, Grady kept a stranglehold on the top of the girls district standings by knocking off the Longhorns 71-60.

Aerial Verble scored 17 points for Grady (14-8, 8-0) and Heather Blackburn added 14.

“I think we took them for granted a little bit. They came out strong and we came out like it was just another game,” said Blackburn, who added that Grady coach Alicia Rush reminded the players at halftime of the need to battle with the taller Longhorns underneath the basket.

“Oh yeah. We didn’t rebound too well, so we needed to pick that up,” Blackburn said. “You have to push them out. You can’t just stand there and expect to get the rebound — because they’re taller than you. You’ve got to push them back and, hopefully, you’ll get it.”

Logan, in a battle with Clovis Christian for second in 4-1A, erased an early 20-8 deficit by scoring the last 12 points of the opening period to even the score.

Logan senior Raynee Rachor and fellow post player Nicole Martinez, in particular, had given the Bronchos fits in the lane as Logan, though trailing 35-34 after two periods, held a whopping 29-12 advantage on the boards.

When Rachor picked up her fourth foul midway through the third period and had to sit, Grady began to pull away. Trailing 42-41, the Bronchos went on a 16-4 run that lasted until the first part of the last quarter.

Brittany Cox led Logan (10-13, 5-3) with 15 while Martinez and Rachor finished with 14 apiece