Titans capture first win of Mike Smith Classic

Rey Castillo By Rey Castillo

Dec. 29, 2017 at 10:06 p.m.
Updated Dec. 30, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Victoria East forward Keaon Griffin drives the lane as Kerrville Tivy's  Josh Vela defends during the Mike Smith Classic on Friday at the District Event Center.

Victoria East forward Keaon Griffin drives the lane as Kerrville Tivy's Josh Vela defends during the Mike Smith Classic on Friday at the District Event Center.   Evan Lewis for The Victoria Advocate

Keaon Griffin admitted Victoria East needed a different approach if they wanted to end a four-game losing streak and capture their first win of the Mike Smith Classic.

"We had to play as a team," Griffin said. "We can't play selfishly."

The Titans (3-15) opened Friday with a 58-48 loss to Kerrville Tivy, but were encouraged with the effort on the court heading into Game 2 against Kingwood Park.

"We're starting to play as a team," said Griffin, who led East with 19 points against the Panthers. "Usually, we play individually and that's why we haven't won a lot of games. Today, we played as a team for four quarters."

East overcame a 15-point deficit to capture a 51-49 win on Friday over Kingwood Park at the District Event Center.

"We have to keep going," said East sophomore Ed Clay. This gave us an idea of what it's like to win."

The Titans' win against the Panthers didn't come easy. After trailing by 15 points in the second quarter, East had to play catch up.

The Panthers (7-13) jumped out to an 21-6 first quarter lead.

"They continued to give an extraordinary effort," said East coach Peter Staackmann. "The first quarter was ugly, but we started showing our effort and making shots."

Led by Griffin, East closed the first half on a 17-7 run to trail 30-27 athalftime.

"Keon came through in the second quarter," Staackmann said. "We played more of a complete game than the other games."

East grabbed its first lead at the start of the fourth quarter when Andrew Alexander found an open Griffin at the basket.

"My shot came back," Griffin said. "My layups, rebounds, it all came back."

Quincy Johnson (4 points) scored on the fast break to extend the Titans' lead before Griffin and Clay scored back-to-back baskets to give East its largest lead at 43-36.

"We played three decent quarters," Staackmann said. "We started making shots and that helped."

The Panthers rallied to tie the game at 48, but Jaren Wilson sealed the game by making two of his final four three throws.

The Titans will wrap up the tournament against Willowridge at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

"I think we can compete with them," Staackmann said. "Hopefully we can carry our momentum into that game."

Mike Smith Classic Day 2

East pool

Kerville Tivy 58, Victoria East 48

Points - (East) D'ary Patton 18, Keaon Griffin 8, Jaren Wilson 2, Quincy Johnson 14, Ed Clay 4, Zane Yates 2. (Tivy) Joseph Love 23, Austin Hayes 13, Mason Roberts 12, Josh Vela 5, Abraham Viera 4, Will Johnson 1. Halftime - Tivy 35-27, 3 - pointers - Joseph Love 7, Austin Hayes 2, Quincy Johnson 1.

Victoria East 51, Kingwood Park 49

Points - (East) Keaon Griffin 19, Jaren Wilson 6, Quincy Johnson 4, Ed Clay 9, Elijah Hooker 10. Wallace McNary 3. (Kingwood) Chauln 18, Brett Hisey 7, Oakes 13, Doss 2, Johnson 3, Roseland 4. Halftime - Kingwood Park 30-27, 3 - pointers - Wallace McNary 1, Keaon Griffin 2, Chauln 3, Oakes 3.

Record - East 3-15


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