Blanton leads Grayson past Apollo, 63-49 1

Apollo’s Landon Hamilton and Grayson County’s River Blanton (23) fight for a rebound during action Tuesday at Apollo’s Eagle Arena.

Grayson County put on a strong shooting display in a 63-49 boys’ basketball win at Apollo.

The Cougars hit 20-of-39 from the floor for 51% Tuesday night. They were on target from long distance with 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

Apollo coach Mark Starns told his team to pay attention to how Grayson County played.

“The scouting report was right here and I told the guys take a lesson from this group here,” Starns said of Grayson County. “These guys knew their roles, shared the ball. They ran their stuff, made us defend. They made us defend every play. A very disciplined basketball team.”

River Blanton was a force with 22 points, seven rebounds. Blanton, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, made four 3-pointers in the first quarter.

After Apollo ran out to a 9-3 lead, Blanton scored 11 straight points and all 14 for Grayson County as it held a 14-9 lead at the first break.

“We didn’t think the Blanton kid was going to be able to do that at the start of the year, but he works, practices it really well,” Grayson County coach Travis Johnston said. “He’s a gamer, he’s going to do it in games more than practice.”

Blanton was also good defensively, which Johnston said was unexpected when practice began.

“Practice wise, he doesn’t bring it like when the lights come on, he’s one of those kids, he ups his game quite a bit,” Johnston said.

Grayson County completed a 13-0 run early in the second quarter to take a 16-9 lead. The Cougars put together another 8-0 run to go up 25-13. They led 47-27 with two minutes to go in the third quarter.

“Our runs have been 7-0, 8-0 runs and we’ve extended it,” Johnston said. “Tonight we guarded them really well. Blanton and Tomes did a good job of (Landon) Hamilton.”

Grayson County is 4-2. Hunter Tomes scored 11 points and Chandler McCrady added 10. Grayson County hit 18-of-26 free throws.

Cameron Frantz scored 20 points to lead Apollo, which fell to 1-5. No other Eagle reached double figures.

Apollo made 15-of-45 from the floor for 33.3%. The Eagles were 15-of-26 from the free-throw line for 58%.

“We fought to the end,” Starns said. “I said I’m coaching to the end and we’re playing to the end.”

GRAYSON COUNTY 14-16-17-15 — 63

APOLLO 9-9-10-21 — 49

Grayson County (63) — Blanton 22, Tomes 11, McCrady 10, Sharp 7, Childers 7, Horn 4, Hornbeck 2.

Apollo (49) — Frantz 20, St. Clair 8, Bowman 6, Girvin 6, Kelly 5, Hamilton 2, Ward 1, Rhinerson 1.

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