MAYPEARL — Down goes Grandview and up rises Maypearl.
Though it's highly unlikely that either team will catch district leading Rice, the battle for second is thriving.
The Panthers moved into a two-way tie for second place in District 17-3A with Grandview High School after edging the Zebras 64-46 Tuesday at Maypearl High School Gymnasium.
"We came into the game with a focus on lowering the turnovers, keeping the Grandview players in front of us on defense, making them shoot jump shots and rebounding better," said Sam Riepe, Maypearl's head boys' basketball coach. "The boys took the coaching and new adjustments and played more relaxed. When we played the first time, a lot of the boys were uptight or nervous, but this time we had a great home crowd that supported us the entire game."
While seniors Tanir Horton (24 pts) and Brandon Wright (15 pts) led the charge, Jake Wiggins may have quietly had the best performance of the game. The junior forward's eight-point, 11-rebound and five-block outing was inches shy of notching his first triple-double of the season.
Senior Joe Jones also added to the mix of interior and perimeter scoring, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and draining two of his four 2-point field goals. Sophomore Carson McManus and junior Gunner Petty scored six and four points each.
While still an offensively-charged affair, defense was the key ingredient in concocting a Grandview beating elixir.
During eight minutes in the second quarter, Maypearl held its district rival to a total of four points while scoring 14 — nearly matching the eight-point difference in the game's final score. The Panthers also forced more than 20 turnovers on 18 steals by Horton (7), Massey (3), Wright (2), Jones (2) and Petty (2).
McManus and Junior Tucker Talley had a steal apiece. Grandview's biggest quarter came in the fourth and after Maypearl had sealed the game and forced the Zebras to try to come from behind in the waning moments of the game — which is nearly impossible in high school basketball.
"Our goals has been to be the top two teams in the district," Riepe said. "We want to make the playoffs and then let the cards fall where they may. Being either second or third doesn’t really matter much because you still have to play against some really good competition in the postseason. Region 3 has several good teams we'll have to beat if we want to make a deep run. I am hoping this is the game that propels us deep into the playoffs. It's like I told the boys: We made the playoffs, but now we are playing for seeding. If we had lost last night or even the next two we would be no worse than third, but we have a goal to be the top two in the district. If we can come out of the next two games with wins, it could be a springboard into the playoffs."
The Panthers are slated to close out their 2016-17 schedule with a 7:30 p.m. Friday matchup at Maypearl High School and Tuesday's district finale against Palmer High School at PHS Gymnasium.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.