Losing starter Verlo Levels to a serious knee injury during warmups, Grace Community had the option to either fold mentally or use it as inspiration.

The Cougars chose the latter, dominating the second half of a 54-34 victory over All Saints to essentially clinch a playoff berth on Friday at Brookshire Gym.

In the girls game prior, the Lady Trojans gutted out a 53-45 victory with seven available players to keep their playoff hopes alive with two games remaining.

Boys

Jimmy Negem scored 21 points, Keaton Yeatts added 10 and Josh Boylan grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Cougars (18-10, 7-5 TAPPS 2-4A).

Grace led 26-22 at intermission but didn’t allow All Saints (16-14, 5-7) to score again until the final minute of the third quarter. 

The Cougars outscored the Trojans 28-12 in the second half, holding All Saints to 14 percent shooting. Grace had a 46-18 advantage in rebounding.

Benjamin Taylor had eight points and seven rebounds to pace All Saints, but he was held scoreless after halftime. The Trojans hit 3 of 22 shots in the second half.

“We’ve had trouble early in district coming out the third quarter and being flat — we didn’t do that tonight,” Grace coach Joe Crawford said.

Levels, the team’s second-leading scorer, was hurt in the layup line before the game. Crawford said he thinks Levels tore his patella tendon, but was unsure of his status immediately after the game.

“It’s tough when it’s a starter especially,” Crawford said. “It can happen two ways: your kids can get so worried they don’t focus on the game or they can use that as a motivation. We took that road tonight.”

Grace is two games ahead of All Saints and T.K. Gorman for the final playoff spot in TAPPS 2-4A. The Crusaders would have to beat the top two teams in the league with the Cougars going winless next week to force a tie-breaker with the Cougars. The Trojans were eliminated from postseason consideration by virtue of being swept by Grace.

Girls

Jasmine Owens had 22 points and 13 rebounds — both game highs — to propel All Saints.

The Lady Trojans led by as many as 13 in the second half before Grace rallied to within 47-45 with 2:28 to play. Owens then hit six of eight free throws to put the game away.

Kelcee Harwood also scored 22 for the Lady Trojans (15-16, 6-6), who can put themselves in prime position for the fourth playoff spot with a win Tuesday against Dallas Christian.

“Incredible team effort,” Lady Trojans coach Karen Lanford said. “This is what this group has done all season long — they have faced adversity with strength and courage. That’s what they did tonight; they beat a very good Grace team.”

Megan Strnadel led Grace (14-13, 7-5) with 17 points, including 10 points to lead her team’s rally in the fourth quarter. Taylor Kingsley provided an offensive spark off the bench with eight second-half points.

Lanna Johnson pulled down 10 rebounds for the Lady Trojans, who ourtrebounded their opponent 49-32, taking advantage of Grace post Olivia Moharer’s foul trouble. Moharer led the Lady Cougars with eight rebounds.

Grace finishes the regular season against the two last-place teams next week with eyes on locking up third place in district.

———

TAPPS 2-4A Girls

All Saints 53, Grace Community 45

Grace             9  5  12  19 —45

All Saints      10 14  10  19 —53

GRACE — Ellen Dixon, 0; Rebekah Provines, 9; Megan Strnadel, 17; Megan Raborar, 5; Catherine Rook, 4; Abby Crawford, 0; Ashley Sisemore, 0; Olivia Moharer, 2; Chelsey Poston, 0; Mattie McKellar, 0; Taylor Kingsley, 8; Haley Evans, 0; Bethany Kimmy, 0. FG: 16-54. FT: 7-19. 

ALL SAINTS — Madison Parks, 0; Jasmine Owens, 22; Kelcee Harwood, 22; Sarah Smith, 2; Gabby Bosworth, 1; Rachel Yates, 6; Lanna Johnson, 0. FG: 15-48. FT: 20-34.

THREE POINT GOALS — GC (6-19): Provines, Strnadel (3), Kingsley (2). AS (3-5): Harwood (3).

RECORDS — Grace 14-13 (7-5); All Saints 15-16 (6-6).

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

———

TAPPS 2-4A Boys

Grace Community 54, All Saints 34

Grace          13  13  10  18 — 54

All Saints       9  13  4    8 —34

GRACE — Keaton Yeatts, 10; Ian Hyde, 6; Jimmy Negem, 21; Josh Boylan, 6; Blake Johnson, 3; Phillip McKinney, 4; Brennon Taylor, 2; Bradley Costiloe, 0; Drew Evans, 0; Dakota Starr, 2; Bryan Kirby, 0. FG: 22-49. FT: 6-17. 

ALL SAINTS — Trevor Long, 0; Collin Walker, 0; Ruben Delong, 2; Brad Robertson, 7; Jonathan Lewis, 6; Luke Edgemon, 3; Brice Borgeson, 3; Aston Francis, 5; Benjamin Taylor, 8. FG: 11-42. FT: 9-16.

THREE POINT GOALS — GC (4-8): Negem (2), Johnson, McKinney. AS (3-16): Robertson, Francis, Taylor.

RECORDS — Grace 18-10 (7-5); All Saints 16-14 (5-7).

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

———

Junior Varsity Boys

All Saints 81, Grace 47

All Saints     22  21  25  13 —81

Grace          20   6   15   6 —47

ALL SAINTS — Aston Francis, 17; Jared Pamatmay, 4; Jared Maddox, 12; Clayton Smith, 11; Grady Atkins, 10; William Alexander, 2; Cameron Huckabee, 8; Brice Borgeson, 9; Spencer Ball, 8. 

GRACE — Melhart, 6; Aldredge, 11; Spitzer, 3; Crozier, 6; Hendricks, 6; Roark, 4. 

THREE POINT GOALS — AS: Francis (2), Smith. G: Melhart, Spitzer, Hendricks. 

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