The No. 18 Grayson Rams put a dramatic end to the No. 10 McEachern Indians 39 game win streak, handing out a 83-57 defeat at Norcross High School during the Hawks-Naismith Classic in front of a capacity crowd on Dec. 14. The much anticipated match-up of nationally ranked guards, Sharife Cooper of McEachern and Deivon Smith of Grayson, definitely did not disappoint the 3200 Georgia hoops fans that watched shoulder to shoulder throughout the bleachers and standing room sections.
As soon as the Rams hit the court, they did not take their foot off of the gas. They put on an offensive show throughout the whole night, shooting 65% from the field and 50% from 3-point range in the first quarter alone. However, the defense had plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” as well. They stayed viscous on the defensive side of the ball, forcing turnovers and blocking the Indians shots left and right. The Rams finished with 14 points off of 16 turnovers, 27 second chance points from snatching rebounds, and 10 fast break points.
Each time Smith or Murphy handled the ball, everyone rose to the edge of their seat in anticipation of a spectacular play. They delivered every time. Murphy finished with 24 points, seven rebounds, and two steals. Smith ended the game with 17 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
“It was high energy…they were champions last year, so we came in knowing that and matched intensity and came out strong, we all played together, we all trusted each other. And the crowd was there so we all just showed out.” Smith said.
“We fed off the energy from the crowd. We did what we were supposed to do so we came out with the win.” Murphy said.
Caleb Murphy and Deivon Smith alternated guarding the top ranked PG from Grayson, Sharife Cooper. It made no difference which one of them took the challenge, as both the Rams kept him silent all night. Cooper shot an extremely ineffective 26% from the field, and looked average on the big stage. The Auburn commit finished the game with 17 points and eight assists. Neither him nor the rest of the Indians could find any shred of momentum in the game.
“Something we’re going to learn from, definitely, and be better when the season gets to the playoffs.” Cooper said.
The Hawks-Naismith Holiday Classic took place Friday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 14. The annual event displays a wide array of Georgia High School competition. This year athletes and fans were provided free promotional giveaways, activities, and a surprise visit from Atlanta Hawks center Damien Jones.