GRAPELAND, Texas (KTRE) - The Grapeland Sandies basketball team is just one win away from the school’s second state championship.
The Sandies are in their sixth state tournament. They won it all in 1985. In 1999 they lost to Wellington in the semifinal. It was a 64-61 overtime thriller. Their run in 2001 ended in the semifinals to Ponder, 69-54. In 2014 they had a heartbreaking loss to Muenster in the semifinals, 65-64. In 2017, the Sandies lost to Muenster again 56-52, this time in overtime.
“We have just fought every day and worked hard,” junior Cadarian Wiley said. “We are happy to keep playing and put Grapeland on the map.”
This years team enters the state championship as the No.3 team in 2A and with a record of 29-1. They will play No.2 Clarendon on Saturday at 10 a.m. The game will take place at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. It will be streamed online by the NFHS Network.
“We have been talking about it since the start of the season of my freshman year,” sophomore Riley Murchinson said. “We have been talking about getting a banner and we fell short last year against Shelbyville [in the regional finals]. Now it is time to get it.”
The Playoff run for Grapeland has been magical. After knocking off Frankston and Mart in the first two rounds the competition stepped up and so did the Sandies. In Round 3 they beat No.1 Martin’s Mill 81-75. In Round 4 they beat No.9 Gary 48-46. In the Regional Final they beat No.4 LaPoynor 77-57. In the state semifinal they beat No.20 Schulenburg 74-60. Coach Blake Doughty has been preaching success all year to his team. Doughty won two state titles as a player with Thorndale. This would be his first as a head coach.
“If we are able to run that gauntlet physically, mentally and emotionally that is something special,” Doughty said. “We are talking about 16, 17 and 18 year-old guys. I can not talk anymore about how proud I am for them being able to go out and mentally stay ready, even after big wins and coming back, getting ready to play the next one.”