BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
Jesse Bible's first home game as the boys' head coach at his alma mater could not have started much worse against Grainger Friday night.
But in the end, West Greene's interim leader was pleased with his team's effort and resiliency as they closed out the contest.
The Buffaloes dug too big of a hole in the first half and trailed Grainger by 27 points going into the break. Eventually they fell to the Grizzlies 82-67 on Friday night.
"We obviously just started too slow." Bible said. "I don't know if we weren't prepared or they just brought more intensity than we expected. But in the second half we came out with a good strategy and executed it well. We made some good shots and most importantly we didn't turn the ball over."
Despite the loss, Bible is excited with opportunity in front of him as he takes the reins at the school he graduated from just six years ago.
"It's absolutely something I'm excited about and I love this group of boys," Bible said. "I hate the circumstance it happened under but I believe God has a plan for everything and I'm just thrilled to able to step in and fill this role for the team."
Bible coached his first game for West Greene on Tuesday in loss at Cumberland Gap after former head coach Brandon Rohr resigned earlier week.
The squad seems to have handled what could have been a difficult change well and Bible credits his seniors, Tanner and Tyler Earley and Tanner Lambert, for stepping up in a difficult time.
"We have three seniors on our team that have good leadership and they have kind of taken everybody under their wing," Bible said. "Change is always hard on anybody but I think they have done a good job of handling it."
The Buffs started the game slow and Grainger showed no mercy as they knocked down shot after shot while making it difficult for West Greene to even get the ball up the court.
The Grizzlies hit four three-pointers in the first quarter, compared to West Greene's three made field goals, as the lead quickly jumped out to 25-6.
West Greene showed more life on offense in the second quarter as they were able to triple their offensive production from the first period. However, they still struggled to slow the Grainger attack.
Darvel Walker was able to drop in seven points in the period, including a buzzer-beating three to close the half, which pushed the margin to 51-24.
West Greene showed new life on the other side of intermission. They turned up the tempo on offense and pressured the Grizzlies for the full length of the court.
Tanner Earley led the charge with eight third-quarter points as his teammates moved the ball well and found him open in the post multiple times.
Earley finished with 16 points. Tanner Earley had a team-high 17, while Cole Christopher scored 14, and Jordan Fillers 13.
The only thing that kept Grainger in front in the contest was the fact that they continued to find the bottom of the net from long range. All four of Grainger's third-quarter field goals were from behind the arc and in total they hit 11 for the contest.
Freshman Corey Bates hit five of them as part of his game-high 21 points. Bailey Lamb hit two from deep and finished with 20 points.
West Greene scored 25 points in the fourth quarter and at one point cut the lead to 12, but the early damage proved too much to overcome.
"Down that many points in the second, you really don't know how high school boys are going to reactm but those guys batted to the end and I was very pleased," Bible said.
West Greene fell to 2-9 overall and 0-2 in District 2-AA. Grainger improved to 8-2 and 2-0.
LADY GRIZZLIES WIN BIG
Defending District 2-AA girls' champion Grainger showed Friday night that they are just as good this year as they rolled to a 76-37 win over West Greene.
The Lady Grizzlies improved to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in the district.
West Greene had no answer for the Lady Grizzlies' size underneath the basket or their shooting from the perimeter as Grainger stepped on the gas early and never looked back.
Grainger opened the game with a 32-point first quarter, utilizing defending District Player of the Year Allison Hodge and Blake Lamb in the post while Holly Black got hot from behind the arc.
Hodge and Lamb finished with 16 points apiece while Black scored 11 in a little more than two quarters of action.
The Lady Grizzlies were just as impressive on the defensive end, at times acting as an impenetrable wall in the paint that knocked away all who tried to enter.
Grainger forced bad passes on the perimeter and was quick to pick the pockets of the Lady Buffs. More often than not, the Lady Grizzlies turned those turnovers into quick offense on the other end.
Grainger built a 32-point cushion at the half.
In the second half, with Grainger using mostly reserves and playing more relaxed on defense, West Greene was able to keep the margin in check.
Rachel Hensley was the leading scorer for West Greene with 11 points.