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Jordan Saylor exploded for a season-high 24 points and the Grant County Braves hit 10 3-pointers in an impressive 80-51 victory over visiting cross-town rival Williamstown on Jan. 20 at the Coaches vs. Cancer event.
Saylor, whose previous high was 15 on two different occasions this season, hit a 3-pointer for the game’s first points and never let up, scoring 19 in the first half. His dominance was on display early in the second quarter when he scored 11 straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help Grant County build a lead that was too much for Williamstown to overcome.
“Everyone saw tonight what kind of potential Jordan has,” said first-year Grant County coach Brandon Grammer. “When he attacks the rim he is a different kind of player. He can shoot from the outside. He’s a good defensive player. He’s got a ton of potential and tonight it showed.”
With Saylor leading the way, Grant County hit double digit 3-pointers for the second straight game.
The Braves also were good on 10 from long range in their previous game against South Oldham.
“From start to finish our guys played with the energy that we’ve been looking for,” said Grammer. “In a district game like this, a big rivalry game, you never know what to expect. But our guys came ready to play.”
Williamstown coach Roger Harden echoed Grammer, pointing to Grant County’s well-executed game plan as the difference in the game.
“You really have to give the credit to Grant County,” Harden said. “They are a much better team than their record indicates. And they are good at hitting the three ball.”
After Saylor’s 3-pointer got the scoring started, Grant County built its lead to 8-2 before Jon Jump hit a jumper in the lane and David Jump hit a 3-pointer to pull Willamstown within one at 8-7.
David Jump hit a running jumper in the lane with 3:28 remaining in the first period to give Williamstown its only lead of the game, 9-8.
But Luke O’Nan hit a pair of free throws to give Grant County the lead with 3:12 to go in the first quarter and the Braves led the rest of the way.
Saylor’s 3-pointer with nine seconds left gave Grant County an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. He then scored eight straight that helped push the Braves’ lead to 29-9 just two minutes into the second quarter.
The Braves held their biggest lead of the first half at 26 on a pair of free throws by Cody Kellam before taking a 45-21 lead into the locker room at the half.
Grant County picked up in the second half where it left off in the first, going on a 12-3 run to extend its lead to more than 30 points early in the third quarter.
Following Saylor in the scoring column for the winners was Aaron Hicks with 12 points, including three 3-pointers. Austin Johnson had a solid all-around game with nine points, seven steals, seven assists and four rebounds.
“Austin did a real nice job of facilitating what we wanted on offense, and also controlling the defense,” said Grammer.
Jordan Rose was next for the winners with eight points, followed by Colin Albers and Bo Hammons with five each, Austin Schneider and Logan Cummins four each, Seth Adkins three, and D.J. Bennett, Cody Kellam and Luke O’Nan two each.
Williamstown was led by David Jump with 43 points, six rebounds and three steals. Jon Jump was next with five points, followed by Chaz Jordan, Brennon Stanley and Cameron Varner with one each.
While Harden was quick to give credit to the host team, he also never hesitated to put the blame on his own team for the poor performance. Harden expected better from his team after it won six of eight heading into the big district matchup.
“This was not the team that I’ve been coaching this year,” he said. “I think we were intimidated and I was disappointed in our courage. And as coach, I have to shoulder the responsibility for that.
“When you play a game like this where you’re not real proud of the way you played, you’ve just got to put it behind you and go back to work,” Harden said. “We’ve got to keep believing in tomorrow.”