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January 18, 2014

Grady County Tournament team-by-team preview


1. Alex (boys)

Head coach Isaac Byrne understands what lies ahead for his team in this tournament, saying after their big win over Stratford to win the Longhorn Classic last weekend that his team has a "target on their back."

There is a difference, of course, between seeing the target and hitting it. The Longhorns bring a mix of size and outside shooting to their game. Leading the way is senior Shaedon Castor, an explosive point guard that also poses a threat from long range.

Daton Payne showed he can support the long-range game with an important nine points in the second half of that win against Stratford. When the shots aren't falling, Jacob Otey helps balance the team with his work on the low block. This along with a vast supporting cast capable of changing the game makes the Longhorns the boys' tournament favorite.


1. Rush Springs (girls)

The Lady Redskins are hands-down favorites for the girls' title, and Jordan Brooks is a big reason for that.

Performances like the one she had in Alex, where her 39 points led Rush Springs past the Lady Longhorns, make it hard to believe the 5' 9" forward is only a freshman. There's more to the Rush Springs girls that youthful enthusiasm. A senior class that includes Kaylee Large, Rikki Brown, Samantha Dennis and Kaylin Renneker provides the backbone, and junior Jacy Cullers provides more experience to a highly rated team.

Such experience could prove vital, and head coach Rick Parrish has many players that know what it takes to get by in this knockout tournament.


2. Minco (boys)

As 2012 champions, the Bulldogs will be out to take back the title and stand a good chance as the second seed.

The Bulldogs enter the tournament off the back of a homecoming game against Geary and a midweek win against Okarche in which they had four players in double digits. Head coach Robert Duvall's Minco appears to be getting in the top gear at the right time, as he called their win over Okarche their best performance of the season so far.

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