ALEX — The Grady County Tournament title will stay in Minco for at least another year.
The Minco Bulldogs defended their 2019 championship with a 66-46 win over the Ninnekah Owls in the championship game Saturday in Alex. Minco won all three of its tournament games by 20 points or more.
“It was a great tournament,” head coach Cache Hill said after the win.
After two dominant wins over Rush Springs and Lexington, the Bulldogs had to face a Ninnekah team that was feeling confident after their tournament wins over Verden and Amber-Pocasset. Ninnekah was in its first GCT title game since 2009.
“They had a lot of momentum going on. They’re very talented,” Hill said about the Owls.
Ninnekah had won four games in a row, and its last loss before losing to Minco was a 42-40 loss to a highly-ranked Calumet squad.
Despite the 20-point margin at the end of the game, Ninnekah was able to hang around.
After Minco’s Ethan Ventris buried a triple to give the Bulldogs a 47-33 lead in the third quarter, Ninnekah got within nine points in the fourth quarter after Conner Garrett buried a long-range shot.
Hill talked about knowing that the game would be filled with runs, and it was Minco’s final run that turned a single-digit game to a blowout victory.
Up by just nine points, the Bulldogs went on a 14-0 scoring run to go up by 23 points over the Owls.
“They cut it to nine and had a lot of momentum, and then we were able to execute,” Hill said. “We didn’t play a perfect game, but we did a lot of good things right … weathered some storms (and) handled some adversity.”
Cooper Shirley ended the game with 24 points for Minco and was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He hit five triples in the win and was one of three Minco players to score in double figures.
“He’s changed a lot since his freshman year. He’s improved his game a lot,” Hill said. “He’s gotten bigger, taller and stronger. Now, he’s shooting over the top of people.
“He’s a great player.”
Austin Brothers and Dane Brummell also scored in double figures for the Bulldogs.
The Am-Po Panthers bounced back from their loss to Ninnekah to defeat Lexington 51-37. Am-Po outscored Lexington 18-7 after Lexington pulled within three points following a double-digit deficit earlier in the game.
Skylar Croskey delivered 26 points for the Panthers.
Dibble’s David Porras delivered when his team needed points the most in the consolation title game against the Alex Longhorns.
Down by one, Porras buried a 3-pointer to give the Demons a 38-36 lead near the end of the game. Dibble eventually won 39-36, and Porras scored 20 points in the win.