LOGANVILLE — Discovery came into Grayson’s building Friday and showed for more than a quarter how it had been good enough to finish the regular season atop Region 6-AAAAAAA.
In the second quarter, Grayson showed how it had conquered Region 8-AAAAAAA and is No. 1 in the state in the Kyle Sandy/Georgia Sports Writers Association rankings.
Trailing 19-18 with less than six minutes to go before halftime, Grayson’s defense started to shut down Discovery. The Rams capitalized with a number of fast break points as part of a 19-0 run that turned the game around, allowing the Rams to claim a 76-41 victory in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA boys basketball playoffs.
“We just challenged (the players) to put more pressure on the ball in the second half,” Grayson coach Geoffrey Pierce said. “I thought (Discovery) was more comfortable running their sets and things of that nature in the first half. (The players) did a good job getting into their stuff.”
The Titans (15-12) started the game able to mostly handle a relentless halfcourt trap defense that the Rams (27-1) employed. But a number of factors — turnovers, missed shots, fatigue and being forced to shoot more 3-pointers — ultimately did in Discovery and saw the team exit in the first round.
“We talked about coming into the week knowing (Grayson) is really good in transition,” Discovery coach Cory Cason said. “When you turn the ball over against them in live ball situations, they’re super elite in transition. They put together that one little spurt … toward the end of the first half, which I think took us out of it a little bit.”
The Titans used the weaknesses exposed by a trap defense — three remaining defenders to cover the four players without the ball on offense — early by making good passes. Charles Blamo (9 points) got the first points on the board by getting open underneath and putting a layup in. Grayson countered with 6-foot-7 post player Ian Schieffelin (14 points) scoring twice in the first quarter on putbacks after offensive rebounds.
Discovery’s Ian Davis (team-leading 13 points) and Grayson’s Josh Smith each hit a 3-pointer in the period, and the teams basically swapped baskets on the way to Grayson leading 13-12 after the first period.
The second quarter started with both teams trading points again, including 3-pointers from Discovery’s Daveion Teague-Parham (12 points) followed by one 10 seconds later by Grayson’s Caleb Murphy (game-high 19 points).
After Blamo put in a couple more baskets to put the Titans up 19-18, that’s when the Rams looked unstoppable.
Quinones Corpman hit a 3-pointer at the 5:14 mark, Josh Smith followed with one of his own about 45 seconds later, and then Murphy and Schieffelin powered the big run with multiple baskets as halftime closed in, putting Grayson up 37-19 after Schieffelin threw down a dunk on an alley-oop pass from Kaden McArthur with 19 seconds to go before the break.
Davis hit a shot with six seconds left in the quarter to end Grayson’s streak, but the damage had been done. The Rams outscored the Titans 24-9 in the quarter.
Discovery didn’t by any means quit in the second half. The Titans came back out and started with a 3-pointer from Davis and a free throw from Teague-Parham to start cutting into the Rams’ lead. But Grayson went on a 10-3 run over the next 2:25, including two straight breakaway dunks off turnovers midway through the period, to stretch its lead out to 19 points.
Teague-Parham showed some grit and scored 6 points in the rest of the quarter to help keep Discovery going, but a pair of 3-pointers from Schieffelin and Murphy negated those points, and the third quarter ended with Grayson leading 56-35.
In the fourth quarter, Grayson was able to stay hot and Discovery could only get one shot to fall and managed 6 points in the final frame. Toneari Lane scored 7 of his 14 points in the period, and Kiree Huie came off the bench and added some offense underneath for the Rams, putting up 7 points in the quarter.
Grayson will host Pebblebrook, which defeated Woodstock on Friday, next week in the second round of the tournament.