Back on the grand stage of the Carrier Dome, the Bishop Grimes boys basketball team did not shrink from that spotlight – but did not seize it, either.
Contrast that with what Utica-Note Dame did in the first half of Sunday night’s Section III Class A final. Dante Griffin’s early barrage ignited things, and the rest of the top-seeded Jugglers took it from there, handing the no. 6 seed Cobras an 81-65 defeat and claiming its first sectional title since 2006.
Griffin torched Grimes for 35 points, using a barrage of 3-pointers in the opening minutes to give UND a lead that would grow to 26 in the second half before a belated Cobras charge.
Grimes was trying to pull off a tough trifecta. Already in the sectional tournament, it had knocked out the no. 3 seed (PSLA-Fowler) and no. 2 seed (Jamesville-DeWitt), and now the Cobras faced UND, a team it had lost to twice during the regular season.
But the Jugglers remembered how close Grimes came to beating them in January. That 51-48 decision gave the Cobras a reason to think it could beat UND, but it never got as close with a sectional title on the line.
Griffin made sure of that point. Within the game’s first four minutes, Griffin took four shots from outside the 3-point arc, and made them all, ultimately putting up the Jugglers’ first 13 points.
Grimes withstood all this and was still close, 18-14, early in the second quarter. What was more, Griffin, with three fouls, was sitting on the bench, seemingly giving the Cobras a big chance to seize control.
Instead, the rest of the Jugglers fed off Griffin’s torrid shooting. By halftime, nine of UND’s 13-point attempts had gone through the net, and it had built a 41-24 advantage.
The Jugglers dominated most of the third quarter, too, and at one point the Cobras trailed 61-35, a margin that, to a degree, freed it up to play the way it wanted to all along.
A 10-0 run to close the period made it a bit more interesting, and even with Griffin sailing past the 30-point barrier, the trio of T.J. Bradford, Tong Nading and David Mo helped Grimes chip away throughout the fourth quarter and pull within 73-62 with three minutes left.
UND would get away one last time, though, and the Cobras’ spirited post-season run ended, despite 17 points from Bradford, 16 points from Mading and 15 points from Mo.
Helping out Griffin, Treijen Garrett put in 13 points and Jaylen Warmack earned 11 points for the Jugglers, who as a team shot 54.3 percent (25-for-46) from the field, more than making up for Grimes’ 51-30 rebounding advantage. Mading had 14 of those boards, with Mo getting 12 rebounds. However, the Cobras shot 36.5 percent (27-for-74).
As UND heads into the state Class A tournament, Grimes looks forward to 2018-19, returning most of its main cast since just three seniors graduate. Mo, Bradford, Mading, Jack Gutchess, David Cifonelli, Gus O’Connell, Gop Arop and Nate Gay all could come back next winter.
Jun 23, 2018
Jun 22, 2018