The Granbury Pirates entered District 7-4A basketball play last night with a 4-8 record.
They were coming off a 1-3 performance in their own Van Griffith Kia Basketball Classic.
And none of that matters, said coach David Breazeale, as long as they are ready to make another run to the playoffs.
Saturday’s 59-45 loss to All Saints was the Pirates’ worst of the season. The other seven defeats were by a total of 34 points, including a thrilling 51-46 lost to tournament champion Trophy Club Nelson.
“I’ve never said this before, but I said before this game, ‘Five games in four days, what you gave last night, the travel problems last weekend, it’d be a miracle if you play well,” said Breazeale.
“The mind wants to, but that ol’ body will sometimes shut down.
“I had a realistic feeling – not a bad feeling, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know some things.
“But I also know the heart of our guys and our mindset, and they’ll come back from this ready for district.”
The Pirates returned home a day later (Sunday) than expected from a tournament in Levelland the weekend of Dec. 6-8 because of the ice storm that hit North Texas. That same ice storm forced a Tuesday game against Azle to be bumped back to Wednesday, followed by four tournament games Thursday-Saturday.
Despite being tired, the Pirates made Friday’s game perhaps the most thrilling in the tournament. The Pirates overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to tie the game at 37 early in the fourth quarter.
Then, down 49-46 in the closing seconds, Granbury was forced to foul. Nelson capitalized by making clutch free throws and held the Pirates at bay.
The Pirates got 29 points from their guards, including 18 from Jacob Taylor on six 3-pointers.
“Any time you have decent guard play, you’ve got a chance,” said Breazeale. “If you have no guard play, you can have the best post in the United States and not win a thing.”
Taylor finished the tournament 19-for-35 from 3-point range. He led the Pirates in scoring in each game, averaging 16.5 points.
Breazeale praised the play of Taylor, saying he’s developed into more than just a long-distance threat.
“He’s also got the threat to get you off the dribble, and he’s better defensively. He stays in front of his man,” said Breazeale.
In each of the four tournament games, the Pirates fell behind early. They overcame a four-point halftime deficit in a 59-55 win over North Dallas in the first game, trailed Nolan 25-6 before losing by six, trailed Nelson by double digits, and trailed All Saints by as much as 17.
“That little spread set he was running was tough for a tired team to defend,” said Breazeale of the All Saints game.
“But we did get some good things out of this tournament even though we lost three games. For one thing, we found the ability to have both bigs (Mitchell May and J.D. Hohnstreiter) on the floor at the same time.”
Ultimately, Breazeale said, what matters is how the Pirates play the rest of the season beginning last night.
“Hopefully, now we have a team with a chip on our shoulders,” he said.
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Van Griffith Kia Basketball Classic
TC Nelson 12 13 12 14 – 51
Granbury 6 10 17 13 – 46
Granbury (4-7) scoring – Jacob Taylor 18, Kevin Hennard 10, Clay Brawner 8, Mitchell May 7, J.D. Hohnstreiter 4, Will Brawner 3.
Nelson (10-4) scoring leaders – Nzekwesi 16, Williams 15.
3-pointers – Taylor 6, W. Brawner 1.
Team 3-pointers – Granbury 7, Nelson 3.
Free throws – Granbury 9-11, Nelson 12-16.
All Saints 13 15 15 16 – 59
Granbury 4 19 10 12 – 45
Granbury (4-8) scoring – Taylor 14, Hennard 9, Ryan Suitt 5, C. Brawner 3, W. Brawner 3, Aaron Villa 3, Hohnstreiter 2, B.B. King 2, Malik Allen 2, May 2.
All Saints (10-6) scoring leaders – Adams 15, Urana 12, Riney 12.
3-pointers – Taylor 3, W. Brawner 1, C. Brawner 1.
Rebounds – Hohnstreiter 4.
2-point FG – Granbury 11-25 (44 percent). All Saints 20-33 (61 percent).
3-point FG – Granbury 7-17 (41 percent). All Saints 4-11 (36 percent).
Free throws – Granbury 2-6 (33 percent). All Saints 6-7 (86 percent).
Team rebounds – Granbury 14, All Saints 20.
turnovers – Granbury 13, All Saints 9.