Luke Williams and Stephen Graham scored 14 points each and Jake Vizena pulled down 14 rebounds to help the Thrall Tigers to a 63-50 win over the Granger Lions.
“It was a total team effort,” said Thrall Coach Charles Tindol.
Thomas Rhoades and Zach Cabello staked the Lions to a 5-2 lead in the opening of the game, but the lead was short-lived. Graham led the Tigers on an 11-0 run hitting a pair of free throws and a pull-up jumper that gave Thrall a 13-5 lead with 4:45 to play in the first.
Johnny Ryder ended Thrall’s run hitting the front end of a one-and-one and Cabello hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter with 3:48 on the clock to trim the lead to 13-9. Clayton Allen and Vizena each scored in the closing moments that gave the Tigers a 17-11 after one.
Granger opened the second quarter with a pair of baskets from Carlos Reyna and Ryder pulling the Lions within two at 17-15, but the Tigers responded. Garrett Crabb and Graham each scored fast-break layups and Vizena drained a 3-pointer from the right side that put Thrall up 24-15 with 5:04 to play in the half.
Following a Granger score the Tigers extended their lead. Ryan Grisham hit a running jumper and Allen scored on a baseline drive while Graham connected on a pair of shots from the charity stripe that gave the Tigers a 30-17 advantage. Grisham would score again with 1:01 to play, but Ryder scored on a pair of layups and the Tigers led 32-22 at the half.
The third quarter saw both teams struggle. Reyna scored seven of 11 points in the third quarter to pace the Lions and Granger was able to trim the lead to 40-32 entering the fourth.
Both teams seemed to find the range in the fourth. Ryder led things off with a pair of second-chance shots that trimmed the lead to 40-36 with 7:06 to play. Williams responded with a pair of free throws and a driving jumper and after another Reyna basket Crabb and Williams combined for four points that put the Tigers up 48-38.
Each time Granger would try and cut the lead the Tigers were able to respond. Thrall eventually pushed its lead to 60-44 late. Bryce Poling scored all seven of his points over a 1-minute stretch converting a 3-point play with 2:37 to play to make the lead 16 for the Tigers. Granger would get no closer than 12 from that point.
Granger Coach Stephen Brosch pointed to poor shooting by the Lions as the primary reason for the loss.
In addition to Stephens and Williams’ 14-point efforts, the Tigers got 13 from Vizena and eight from Crabb. Granger was led by Ryder’s 14 points. Reyna had 13 and Cabello scored a dozen on four 3-point shots.
Thrall was on the road Friday traveling to Mumford for a game with the Mustangs. Granger will face the Holland Hornets on Friday.