The streak ends: Bulldogs defeat Grizzlies in overtime

Claiborne and Grainger met on Jan. 27 in the Carl R. Green Gymnasium, and fans witnessed one great game between two great teams that fought hard all four periods and into overtime.

When the game tipped off, Claiborne got its first lead at 3-2, but the Grizzlies moved ahead. Claiborne got a big three by Kade Beeler plus he was fouled. After hitting the “and-1” his team led 9-8. Seth Morelock added points before the first period ended with the score 15-11 in favor of Grainger.

Beeler started the second period with a steal and a layup making it a two-point game. Daniel Atkins got a basket down low and Beeler hit one in the lane, but each time Claiborne made a run so did Grainger. Ethan Poore added a basket and Atkins hit two from the free-throw line.

A Blaine Caylor free throw tied it at 22, but Grainger pushed the advantage out to eight. Jacob Williams hit two from the stripe and Evan Poore followed it up with a three. At the half, the Bulldogs were down by six, 33-27.

Beeler, Poore and Atkins led a comeback and had the game tied at 37. Then Beeler hit a go-ahead basket with 3:26 remaining in the period. Beeler then stroked a three from the corner and kept Claiborne out front at the two-minute mark at 42-39. The Bulldogs held on to a 42-41 lead going into the final period.

Claiborne lost the lead in the early part of the fourth and were down by four with just under four remaining. Beeler again gave the Bulldogs the lead at 3:32 at 49-48. At 1:17, a technical foul was assessed to a Grainger player and Beeler knocked down two free throws. He then hit a turnaround jumper in the paint and pulled the Bulldogs to within two points at 57-55 with 1:05 remaining in regulation.

Atkins hit a basket down on the block and an “and-1” free throw to give the Bulldogs a 58-57 advantage with 37.8 remaining. Grainger then scored to tie the game and CHS went down and missed a shot sending it into overtime tied at 58.

At the 1:54 mark in overtime, there was still no score by either team but Grainger was in a time out drawing up a play that came up empty. Williams hit the go-ahead basket and got a big rebound on the defensive end. Beeler missed at the stripe, and Williams was there to rebound and got fouled. He calmly hit both and gave his Bulldogs a nice four-point lead with 54.6 left, 62-58.

Grainger ran down and got an easy layup making it a two point game once again. Claiborne made one last little run that pushed the score out to 66-60 as time ran out. Williams was all over the court during the overtime period and helped the Bulldogs secure the first win against Grainger in over eight years.

Bulldogs head coach Corey McGinnis had nothing but good things to say about both teams.

“It was a great win for us. Credit them, they are tough to beat and very talented. We just did the right thing at the right time to come out on top. I’m proud of our guys.” McGinnis added, “I need to say one more thing, Evan Poore came to me at the end of the game and told me to put Isaac Thomas in because he was a better match-up defensively. That meant so much to me because it proves they are putting the name on the front of the jersey first and that’s what we are teaching.”

Kade Beeler came out and scored 24 points, and after the game he spoke about what the number meant to him, “Well, Kobe Bryant had always been my favorite player since I was little. I didn’t know that I had 24 until I got into the locker room and someone told me. That’s just glory to God right there.”

Bryant wore the number 24 jersey for the Lakers in the NBA and sadly he and eight others lost their lives in a helicopter crash the day before, and Beeler considers his point total to be a tribute to him.

Daniel Atkins scored 19, Evan Poore scored 10, Jacob Williams dropped in six, Ethan Poore finished with four, Seth Morelock had two and Blaine Caylor completed the total with one point. Grainger was led by Luke Jones with 17 points.