ALEX — The Grady County Tournament began Monday, and the Ninnekah basketball teams got off to strong starts on the first day.
Competing in Alex on Monday, the Ninnekah boys played before the girls and defeated the Verden Tigers 58-40 to advance to the semifinals. The Ninnekah girls advanced to the semifinals with a 48-25 win over the Rush Springs Lady Redskins.
Big games from Bash McMillan and Jett Berry countered a strong performance from Verden’s Nick Smith in the 18-point win. Smith went off for 28 points for the Tigers, but McMillan and Berry ended up combining for 35 points in Ninnekah’s victory.
Bash McMillan put together a strong start for the Owls, scoring seven of his 18 points in the first quarter. Despite McMillan’s strong start, Ninnekah only led by one after the first quarter.
But the Owls began to separate themselves from the Tigers in the second quarter and went up by double digits. Ninnekah held a 30-21 lead at halftime.
Eleven of McMillan's 18 points came in the first half.
Smith did his best to keep Verden close in the third quarter, scoring all 12 points for the Tigers in the period. Ninnekah got seven points from Berry in the third quarter and outscored Verden 14-12.
Ninnekah outscored Verden 14-7 in the fourth quarter.
Berry scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half of the win.
Ninnekah will play Friday at approximately 5:20 p.m. Verden will play Thursday at approximately 5:20 p.m.
Rush Springs’ Jerricka Funk scored the game’s first four points, but Ninnekah was able to take the lead and eventually pull away. After falling behind 4-0, Ninnekah finished the first quarter on a 14-1 scoring run.
Kaylee Crutchfield hit two triples in the scoring run that gave the Lady Owls a 14-5 lead after the first quarter. Ninnekah led 22-10 at halftime and continued to add to its lead in the second half.
Jayah Rodriguez started the scoring in the second half with a 3-pointer and ended the game with a game-high 16 points.
The Lady Owls held Rush Springs scoreless in the third quarter and outscored their opponent 14-0 in the period. The Lady Owls scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to go up by 31 points before Rush Springs was able to score its first basket of the second half.
Rodriguez was not the only Ninnekah player to reach double figures. Preslee Pitre had 11 points in the team’s victory.
Ninnekah will play Thursday at 4 p.m. Rush Springs will play Friday at 4 p.m.
The Lexington girls defeated Verden 78-23 Monday and will play at approximately 6:40 p.m. Thursday. Verden will play at approximately 6:40 p.m. Friday.
The Lexington boys defeated Alex 41-33 Monday and will play at approximately 8 p.m. Friday. Alex will play at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday.