Cougars gain split with Gorman

T.K. Gorman students cheer on the boys basketball team as they play Grace Community on Friday at Haddad Gym. The Crusaders hosted a Pink-Out Night for breast cancer awareness. (Jake A. Waddingham)



One T.K. Gorman squad was able to persevere without its top player. The other was not.

Playing most of the game without star Michelle Obach due to foul trouble, the Lady Crusaders held off Grace Community for a 51-30 victory on Friday at Haddad Gym. The Crusaders, on the other hand, were dealt a 66-50 defeat by the Cougars, who took advantage of Gorman missing two starters due to suspension.


The Grace boys (15-9, 4-4 TAPPS 2-4A) broke open a close game in the fourth quarter with a few high-flying finishes as the Cougars atoned for a last-second loss to the Crusaders earlier in the season.

Gorman (11-14, 3-5) cut its deficit to 46-39 with 6:37 to play before Grace’s Verlo Levels drilled a 3-pointer to spark a 20-11 run to end the game.

“This game is one of the biggest games for our guys all year long so we’re going to play hyped up,” Cougars coach Joe Crawford said. “We just went through a spurt where everything went right. In the fourth quarter at our place, we went through a spurt where everything went wrong.”

Grace senior Jimmy Negem scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter. Levels, a sophomore, added 17 points, including throwing down an alley-oop while being fouled with 1:23 to play. Levels completed the 3-point play and added three blocks.

Gorman played without starters Ben Ashworth — who scored 24 in the Crusaders’ 58-57 win on Dec. 19 — and forward Brandon Lackner, who were suspended for their roles in a fight Tuesday against Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill. 

Sean Goforth (13 points, five steals), Matthew Brunson (nine points) and Sawyer Matzke (five points, team-high five rebounds) all stepped up in the absence of Ashworth, Lackner and Caleb Williams, who was saddled with foul trouble most of the first half.

However, without its primary ballhandler (Ashworth) Gorman turned the ball over five more times than Grace and without its top rebounder (Lackner) Gorman was beat on the boards 41-27.

The Cougars jumped out to a 17-6 lead late in the first quarter before the Crusaders roared back with three 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the period.

Gorman hit 4 of 7 from long range in the first quarter and 5 of 10 in the first half but hit 2 of 10 in the second half.

“We knew they could shoot 3s, but they can’t make them all night long,” Crawford said. “We’d rather make them shoot a 3 instead of giving up the layup. Yeah, they made some, but it didn’t get us down. We kept playing and that was important.”

Grace senior Keaton Yeatts chipped in with nine rebounds, five steals, four assists and a first-quarter dunk while Dakota Starr came off the bench to add nine points and six boards. Negem also had eight rebounds and four assists while hitting 13 of 17 from the charity stripe.

“We had a great game plan and the kids stuck to it for 32 minutes,” Crawford said. “Everybody did a great job from the kids on the bench to the ones on the floor.”


The Lady Crusaders (23-5, 8-0) proved their defense could lift them to a win while playing without their leading scorer and while shooting poorly.

Obach, Gorman’s leading scorer with 20.2 per game, played less than 10 minutes the entire game Friday after picking up early fouls. She still finished with a team-high 11 points after fouling out with 4:51 left in the game.

Despite hitting 29 percent from the field, the Lady Crusaders were able to prevail by forcing 24 turnovers and making the Lady Cougars shoot 24 percent, including less than 10 percent in the second half.

“Obviously, having Michelle on the bench isn’t ideal,” Gorman coach Katie Robertson said. “I think it’s honestly a blessing in disguise. 

“For these girls to realize we aren’t a one-man team and that we are good all around, I think that’s going to be a boost to their confidence for the rest of the district and going into playoffs in case we do get into a similar situation.”

In Obach’s absence, senior Cori Jo Navarro helped lead the way with nine points, seven steals, five rebounds and four assists. Susannah Williams added 10 points and nine rebounds; Allie Buzbee had six points, nine rebounds and five steals; and Danielle Smith had 10 boards.

The Lady Cougars (12-11, 5-3) received game-highs of 14 points from Megan Strnadel and 18 rebounds from Olivia Moharer, but couldn’t hit a basket down the stretch, scoring 10 points after halftime.

After Grace scored the first basket of the game, Gorman reeled off the next 10 points and never trailed again. The Lady Cougars didn’t go away and the deficit was single digits late into the third quarter but Navarro’s three-point play with 10 seconds left in the third gave the Lady Crusaders a 40-27 advantage.

After Obach fouled out on her second charge of the second half, Gorman slowed the pace and attempted one more field goal, a Courtney Fergerson layup. Though they were outrebounded 14-6 in the final quarter, the Lady Crusaders held on by allowing one make in 18 Lady Cougars shots.

“We played through it and they kept their head,” Robertson said. “I felt like it was an opportunity for them to grow.”


TAPPS 2-4A Girls

T.K. Gorman 51, Grace Community 30

Grace          8 12 7 3 — 30

Gorman     17 14 9 11 — 51

GRACE — Ellen Dixon, 0; Rebekah Provines, 2; Megan Strnadel, 14; Megan Raborar, 0; Catherine Rook, 8; Abby Crawford, 0; Ashley Sisemore, 2; Olivia Moharer, 4; Chelsey Poston, 0; Mattie McKellar, 0. FG: 13-54. FT: 3-9. 

GORMAN — Brook Lee, 9; Allie Buzbee, 6; Michelle Obach, 11; Maggie Mercer, 0; Cori Jo Navarro, 9; Mandie VanderVorste, 0; Liz Fikes, 0; Laura Meads, 0; Susannah Williams, 10; Danielle Smith, 4; Hannah Sattler, 0; Courtney Fergerson, 2. FG: 16-56. FT: 17-26. 

THREE POINT GOALS — GC (1-14): Strnadel. TKG (2-10): Lee, Buzbee. 

RECORDS — Grace 12-11 (5-3); Gorman 23-5 (8-0).

JV SCORE — Gorman 43, Grace 29.

NEXT UP — Dallas Christian at Grace, 6 p.m. Tuesday; Gorman at All Saints, 6 p.m. Tuesday.


TAPPS 2-4A Boys

Grace Community 66, T.K. Gorman 50

Grace        19 8 17 22 — 66

Gorman    15 9 8 18 — 50

GRACE — Keaton Yeatts, 5; Verlo Levels, 17; Ian Hyde, 0; Jimmy Negem, 27; Josh Boylan, 2; Blake Johnson, 0; Phillip McKinney, 0; Brennon Taylor, 2; Bradley Costiloe, 0; Drew Evans, 4; Dakota Starr, 9; Bryan Kirby, 0. FG: 22-62. FT: 20-26. 

GORMAN — Patrick Droder, 0; Caleb Williams, 6; Nick Meads, 5; Sean Goforth, 13; Sawyer Matzke, 5; Max McKinley, 0; Matthew Weeks, 2; Cannon Woods, 4; Matthew Carleton, 6; Michael Huber, 0; Matthew Brunson, 9; Adam Aucar, 0. FG: 17-45. FT: 9-20. 

THREE POINT GOALS — GC (2-17): Levels (2). TKG (7-20): Goforth (3), Matzke, Brunson (3). 

RECORDS — Grace 15-9 (4-4); Gorman 11-14 (3-5).

NEXT UP — Dallas Christian at Grace, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; Gorman at All Saints, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.


Junior Varsity Boys

Grace Community 75, T.K. Gorman 50

Grace   16 18 25 16 — 75

Gorman 7 6 13 24 — 50

GRACE — Zac Roark, 12; Matt Houston, 2; Phillip McKinney, 17; Lucas Nickel, 2; Andrew Melhart, 15; Mason Aldredge, 2; Blake Hendricks, 5; Levi Crozier, 10; Ben O’Neill, 3; Jonny Spitzer, 7; Reid Gordon, 0. 

GORMAN — Brad Luzietti, 13; Cole Sherron, 5; Chris Danley, 8; Mitchell Raney, 0; Cartrell Freeman, 6; Adam Aucar, 13; Alex Burns, 3; DeLuis West, 0; Logan Maloney, 2. 

THREE POINT GOALS — GC: Roark (2), McKinney, Melhart (3), Hendricks, Spitzer (2). TKG: Luzietti (2), Sherron. 


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