The Granbury Pirates are 1-3 this basketball season, but are just a few points away from being 4-0.
The latest close loss was 64-62 at home Tuesday to Kennedale, the No. 5 team in the state in Class 3A and a perennial power.
“They (Kennedale) played good, but we played our brains out, as coach Breazeale likes to say,” said guard Clay Brawner, who scored 25 points with nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
And, sure enough, that is exactly what coach David Breazeale said about his team.
“You just play better when you play your brains out,” he said. “This was the best of our four games.”
The Pirates were poised for the upset against a Wildcats team that played a fine game in their own right. Kennedale (6-0) shot more than 50 percent (16-for-31) from 2-point range, nearly 50 percent (5-for-12) from 3-point territory, and hit 17 free throws in 27 attempts.
The Pirates countered by hitting nearly two-thirds of their 2-pointers (19-for-29). And although they did struggle from 3-point land (4-for-18), they hit nearly two-thirds of their free throws (12-for-17).
Granbury also outrebounded the Wildcats 31-27, led by Brawner, and forced 19 turnovers to their own 18.
“It really shows us we can compete with anybody,” said Brawner.
Breazeale added that the days of moral victories are a thing of the past.
“My first and second season we accepted moral victories, but starting last year we don’t,” he said.
“But we did get a solid effort from everybody tonight. We got contributions off the bench. I think we can craft a team out of it.”
The Pirates bench outscored the Kennedale reserves 11-0.
WILDCATS HOLD ON
Brawner’s basket with 22 seconds left drew Granbury to within 63-60. However, with time running out, they were forced to foul.
Kennedale’s K.D. Doss missed the first of two free throws with 10 seconds remaining, but sank the second for the clincher.
A basket by Granbury’s J.D. Hohnstreiter as time expired finished off the scoring.
Hohnstreiter enjoyed a fine night as well, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
“J.D. played incredible,” said Breazeale. “And (Kevin) Hennard hit the offensive glass like never before.”
Hennard scored 11 points with six rebounds.
In addition, the Pirates took away at least 12-14 Kennedale points by taking charges. Brawner took four alone.
“We preach all the time that guys will stop taking it to the bucket if you take a charge,” said Breazeale. “And my guys aren’t afraid to stand there and take it.”
After the teams combined to shoot 23 free throws in the first half, Kennedale backed off from the lane to start the second half. The Wildcats hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter and went up by as much as 11.
A pair of free throws early in the fourth put Kennedale up 52-42. The Pirates came right back with a 9-0 run, as Brawner scored seven of the points, to pull within 52-51 with 5:54 remaining.
A couple of turnovers keyed a 10-4 Kennedale run to increase the Wildcats’ lead to 62-55 before another late charge by the Pirates.
“Those two turnovers really hurt us and put it out of reach,” said Brawner.
The Pirates’ other losses were by five points at Waxahachie (a two-point deficit with a few seconds to play) and by a single point at Abilene Cooper. The win was a 22-point blowout of Stephenville at home.
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Kennedale 19 12 17 16 – 64
Granbury 17 9 14 22 – 62
Kennedale (6-0) scoring – Ty Charles 17, V.J. Hughes 16, Jackson Aundre 14, K.D. Doss 13, Colton Otts 4.
Granbury (1-3) scoring – Clay Brawner 25, Kevin Hennard 11, J.D. Hohnstreiter 10, Ryan Suitt 5, Malik Allen 4, Jacob Taylor 3, Will Brawner 2, Mitchell May 2.
3-pointers – Kennedale: Hughes 3, Doss 1, Charles 1. Granbury: C. Brawner 2, Suitt 1, Taylor 1.
Rebound leaders – Kennedale: Aundre 13. Granbury: C. Brawner 9, Hohnstreiter 8, Hennard 6.
Assist leaders – Kennedale: Daemar Jones 4. Granbury: C. Brawner 7, Taylor 3.
Steal leaders – Kennedale: Jones 3. Granbury: C. Brawner 4.
Block leaders – Kennedale: Aundre 2. Granbury: May 2.
2-point FG – Kennedale 16-31 (52 percent). Granbury 19-29 (66 percent).
3-point FG – Kennedale 5-12 (42 percent). Granbury 4-18 (22 percent).
Free throws – Kennedale 17-27 (63 percent). Granbury 12-17 (71 percetn).
Rebounds – Kennedale 27. Granbury 31.
Turnovers – Kennedale 19. Granbury 18.