SUWANEE, GEORGIA – Monday night’s matchup between Grayson and Etowah was a tale of two halves in Day 2 of the Jared Cook Classic
The Eagles won the first half, using a great second quarter to take a three-point lead into the break. But when the game mattered the most, the Rams showed up and dominated the second half, shooting 58 percent from the field to pull away with a 66-53 win.
CJ Hyland led the way with 20 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Gicarri Harris chipped in with 12 and Anthony Alston scored 11 in the win.
After a sluggish first half, Grayson head coach Geoffrey Pierce said it was great to see them turn it around in the second half.
“I thought in the first half we didn’t do a good job moving the ball,” Pierce said. “It was of coming down, one pass, jack. We weren’t forcing (Etowah) to defend us. We told them in the second half that we wanted to play inside out, but move the ball. They did a better job of that and we did a better job defensively as well. We were able to get out in transition.”
The Rams (2-1) best quarter offensively was the third quarter. They shot 10 of 16 from the field and got seven points from Hyland, seven points from Harris, six points from Alston and four points from Chad Moodie.
A Moodie dunk early in the third quarter gave the Rams a two-point lead and they never trailed again. The Rams led by as many as nine points in the third quarter before eventually heading into the fourth leading by seven, 46-39.
After out-scoring the Rams 15-9 in the second quarter to build a three-point lead at the break, Etowah head coach said they’ve worn down in back-to-back third quarters to start the season - albeit against nationally-ranked Wheeler and Grayson, who ranks very high in Class 7A.
“It’s been clear that we’ve run out of gas in these third quarters, so we’ve got to find a way to get some guys some breaks so we can stop third-quarter runs,” Dasinger said. “When we play as well as we can, we’re right in there with them. We were tied after the first quarter with Wheeler, we were up three in this game.”
Their lead ballooned to 10 points, 51-41 early in the fourth after Hyland drilled his second three-pointer of the night.
Etowah kept the deficit manageable for most of the fourth quarter and got it down to six points, 53-47 after a Brandon Rechsteiner corner three-pointer with 4:42 remaining in the game.
But with some wear and tear starting to show from the Eagles, the Rams kept their foot on the gas and ended any hopes of a comeback with a 13-2 run to end the game.
After a hard-fought loss to Pebblebrook last weekend, Pierce said that he is encouraged by what he’s seen from his team through their first three games of the season.
“The kids are doing a really good job paying attention to us when we’re trying to make our adjustments, whether it’s out of a timeout or halftime,” Pierce said. “We’ve got a very coachable group.”
The Eagles shot just 3 of 12 from the field in the fourth quarter. They were led by Chase Clemmons who scored 19 points. Rechsteiner and Mason Etter each scored 13 and Aiden Weaver chipped in with nine points in the loss.