It was a good way for the University Heights Academy Blazers to head off into district tournament play. Playing what Coach Grant Shouse said what may have been his team’s best game of the season, the Blazers closed out the regular season by rolling past Greenwood 78-71 Friday night in Blazer Gym.
The first quarter, however, looked as if the Blazers might be Gator bait. With a 10-8 lead, Greenwood ripped off the next eight points to go up 18-8. The Gators were dominating the glass in the early going and getting a strong inside performance from Cade Stinnett. William Bryan and K.J. Crump were able to keep the Blazers within shouting distance early. The quarter would end with Greenwood holding a 22-13 lead
As much as the first quarter belonged to the Gators, the second quarter belonged to the home team. With their pressure defense out front causing Greenwood’s ball handlers significant issues, UHA found its offensive stride. The Blazers also started crashing the glass, cutting back on the second chance opportunities for Greenwood, and finding some of their own at the other end.
Trailing by nine points early in the second, UHA used a 10-3 run to close to within 27-25. The run was sparked by the defensive pressure and the attacking offensive play of William Bryan, D.J. Quarles, and K.J. Crump. After a Gator basket, the Blazers would finish the half on an 8-2 spurt to take a 33-31 lead into the break.
It was more of the same as the second half got underway. Crump and Quarles hounded the Gator guards into mistakes, rushed shots, and rushed passes, as UHA began to extend the lead. The Blazers would build the lead to as many as 13 points in the quarter at 55-42. The Gators scored the final four points in the third to trim the lead to nine going into the final eight minutes.
Cade Stinnett continued his big night in the 4th, and he would get some needed help from Marc Grant, as Greenwood would battle to stay in the game as the final quarter got rolling. The Gators would get as close as three points on two occasions, the last coming at 57-54 in the early moments of the 4th quarter. Grant scored 14 in the second half, including four made three-pointers.
The Blazers ripped off the next seven points to take a double-digit lead at 64-54, and Greenwood would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.
UHA got big nights from both K.J. Crump and D.J. Quarles. Crump finished the night with 23 points, while Quarles added 22. William Bryan also hit double figures with 16.
Greenwood’s Cade Stinnett was the top scorer in the game with 33 points. Marc Grant finished with 18, while Aaron Brown added 16.
The Blazers wrap up the regular season at 10-9 and will take on Christian County in an 8th District tournament semifinal Monday night at 6:30 at Hopkinsville High School.
GHS — 22 9 15 25 – 71
UHA — 13 20 22 23 – 78
Greenwood (14-11) – C. Stinnett 33, Grant 18, Brown 16, Buchanon 2, B. Stinnett 2
University Heights (10-9) – Crump 23, Quarles 22, Bryan 16, McGee 9, Duncan 2, Grubbs 2, Braxton 2, Shouse 2