Gray Col­le­giate hopes to use its Bo­jan­gles loss as learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence

The State - - High Schools - BY CHRIS DEARING Spe­cial For the State

Gray Col­le­giate opened Day Two of the Bo­jan­gles Bash with a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that will help later in the sea­son.

The War Ea­gles, the de­fend­ing Class 2A state cham­pi­ons, were roughed up by As­pire Academy (KY) 78-59, leav­ing coach Dion Bethea think­ing this was some­thing his team needed more as an at­ten­tion grab­ber than any­thing else.

Gray Col­le­giate could have had four starters back from last year’s ti­tle team but Juwan Gary, the Alabama com­mit that left over the sum­mer for Lib­erty Heights in North Carolina, elected not to re­turn. The War Ea­gles did have Jalen Deloach trans­fer in, but putting all the parts to­gether has been chal­leng­ing.

“We have to just keep play­ing re­gard­less if we’re down or not,” Bethea said.

“We have to play and fin­ish the game. We have to get over th­ese grow­ing pains. We’re heavy at the guard spot and we still need to fig­ure some things out ro­ta­tion-wise. This is the time to do those things in­stead of later in the sea­son.”

The parts are there for Gray Col­le­giate to have an­other cham­pi­onship run. Four se­niors are back, and all have big-game ex­pe­ri­ence. Tommy Bruner led the way against the Wizards with 18 points and five as­sists, but he’s not alone.

Dal­laz Cor­bitt mus­cled his way to 12 points and six re­bounds while Jhalil Robin­son added seven points and eight re­bounds.

Point guard Khalil Robin­son is re­turn­ing from an in­jured wrist that caused him to miss most of the play­off run. He con­tributed eight points, five re­bounds and two as­sists.

The War Ea­gles trailed 20-19, af­ter one quar­ter but foul trou­ble and a lack of ex­pe­ri­enced depth caught up with them. As­pire Academy, com­ing off a last-sec­ond loss to Ridge View the night be­fore, led 39-30 at the half and it never got closer than five points in the sec­ond half.

Proper Obi­diebube led the Wizards with 23 points and 17 re­bounds.

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