As the Granbury Pirates have proven over recent basketball seasons, records aren’t always the best indicator of a team’s talent.
Despite records slightly below .500 the past four seasons, the Pirates have been a postseason contender in their district.
And what could be their strongest team in years, they learned Friday night not to take the record of any team for granted.
The Pirates (7-6) eventually put away Waxahachie (1-12), 72-59, but not before the Indians threw a scare into their hosts and every Granbury fan watching at the James Wann Sports Center.
“I knew their record wasn’t good, but I saw where they hadn’t been losing by much to their opponents,” said James Hodges, who scored a dozen points and had four assists for Granbury.
The Pirates were coming off a runner-up finish in their own tournament a week earlier. However, they had not played since that tough 53-47 championship loss to Nolan Catholic.
Hodges said the time off might have played a small part in some of the sluggishness that saw Waxahachie lead for much of the first quarter and then pull within 47-46 late in the third.
“The tournament helped us mentally realize how good we can be, but then we had a bye (Tuesday) and had some mediocre practices,” he said.
“The pace of the game was shaky, but we knew we were the better team.”
Coach David Breazeale knew it also, so he called a timeout following the Indians’ 14-2 run in the third quarter that got them within one.
“He was angry that we let them back in it,” said Hodges.
The Pirates responded to the timeout by ending the game with a 25-13 run during which they limited Waxahachie to 4-for-15 from the field and hit nine of a dozen shots themselves.
Breazeale said he does not regret giving his team off last Tuesday following the emotional tournament. They also had a game the next day after hosting Waxahachie, to which they fell 74-63 to Burkburnett in the Glen Rose Shootout.
“We were tired, I was tired,” he said. “And we’ve got some kids who are nicked up.
“Waxahachie is a good team. They played Mansfield to overtime.”
Hodges drew the praise of his coach for his evening’s performance.
“Jimmy may have had his career night, not just scoring, but all-around floor play,’ said Breazeale.
Four players scored in double figures for the Pirates, led by Clay Brawner with 15, while Jacob Taylor added 13 and Collin McCann had a dozen.
“Clay, bless his heart, he got some rolls on free throws,” Breazeale said with a grin. “He made some big plays.”
Brawner was 4-for-4 at the free throw line. He also led the team with five steals.
“That was a good win for us,” said Pirate assistant coach Josh Jones. “Waxahachie is really athletic and well-coached.
“If you look at their season, they’ve been losing by four, five, six points consistently. I wonder if they’re snakebit.
“This was actually maybe their worst loss of the season.”
Jones said the victory was important because the Pirates have struggled against physical teams this season.
“We’ll see this against Aledo in district, so we needed a win against that kind of team,” he said.
The Pirates finished the game hitting 21 of 37 shots from 2-point range (57 percent) and six of 14 from 3-point range (43 percent.). Waxahachie, despite its late cooling off period, shot 51 percent from 2-point range (19-for-37) and was 3-for-9 on 3-pointers.
But Granbury had a sizeable turnover advantage (12-18).
BURKBURNETT 74, GRANBURY 63
The Pirates wrapped up predistrict play with a loss to the state’s No. 14 team in Class 3A, according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. The contest was part of the Glen Rose Shootout.
“Burkburnett’s good. They shoot the ball, and they shot well against us,” said Jones. “They’re hard up and hard down the court. They play like Southwest, but much better than Southwest does it.”
Southwest, which is in Granbury’s district, is known for being one of the fastest-paced teams around. The Pirates defeated the Raiders 60-51 in the semifinals of the Van Griffith Kia Tournament.
And the Pirates stayed with Burkburnett (11-4) for much of the contest before the game slipped away late. Granbury led 19-18 after the opening quarter and trailed just 41-36 at the half.
Brandon Fichter led Granbury with 19 points, while McCann added 14 with all four of his team’s 3-pointers.
Free throws were also a factor. Granbury was 13-for-19 and Burkburnett was 19-for-24.
“The kids played hard, but we lost to a very good team,” said Jones.
The loss dropped the Pirates to 1-5 on the road this season. They are 6-1 at the James Wann Sports Center.
Granbury opened District 7-4A competition last night against Fort Worth Western Hills (2-10) at Billingsley Field House. They are home for a rematch with Southwest (5-9) Friday.
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Waxahachie 10 16 22 11 – 59
Granbury 14 22 16 20 – 72
Granbury (7-5) scoring – Clay Brawner 15, Jacob Taylor 13, Jimmy Hodges 12, Collin McCann 12, Brandon Fichter 8, Nick Doughty 5, Klint Keating 3, Ryan Hudson 2, Kory Rafferty 2.
Waxahachie (1-12) scoring leader – Quinn Sargent 19.
3-pointers – Granbury 6 (Taylor 3, McCann 2, C. Brawner 1). Waxahachie 3.
Rebounds – Granbury 20 (Fichter 5), Waxahachie 18.
Granbury assists – Hodges 4, C. Brawner 4.
Granbury steals – C. Brawner 5.
Free throws – Granbury 12-18, Waxahachie 12-17.
Glen Rose Shootout
Granbury 19 17 16 11 – 63
Burkburnett 18 23 19 14 – 74
Granbury (7-6) scoring – Fichter 19, McCann 14, Rafferty 11, C. Brawner 6, Taylor 6, Doughty 3, Keating 2, Mitchell May 2.
Granbury 3-pointers – McCann 4.
Free throws – Granbury 13-19, Burkburnett 19-24.