Wapahani basketball player Grant Evans has had a torrid start to his senior season. The first quarter of Saturday’s game against Southside was no exception.
Evans exploded for 14 points in the period alone, giving his team a 12-point lead. The Class 2A No. 2 Raiders (3-0) ran away from there for a 73-40 win against the Rebels (1-5) at Wapahani.
Evans, a Wright State signee, finished the game with 29 points. Saturday’s effort was his lowest scoring output of the season. He is averaging 35.3 points per game to start the year.
Wapahani went 22-4 last season, advancing to the regional championship before falling to Tipton. Southside delivered one of those four losses, an overtime win at Southside. Wapahani coach Matt Luce said building an early lead in Saturday’s game was important, but not necessarily because his team had lost to the Rebels the previous season.
“I don’t think it was as much about last year’s game, as the fact that we’ve just got a new team, we needed to play,” Luce said. “We’ve had a long stretch of practice, and then one game, practice and then one game. I think (Southside) has played, maybe six games. And that was our third. So we’re just trying to get on the court and make our practice, and make our minutes on the court work.”
Evans’ classmate Jacob Foster also had a big night, scoring 24 points and providing a team-leading eight rebounds (Wapahani outrebounded Southside 35-24). While Evans had his biggest quarter in the first, Foster had his in the second quarter, when he scored eight points to help his team push its halftime lead to 17.
The Raiders only got points from their three top scorers in the first half. Foster and Evans provided all but six of their team’s first-half points, with point guard Tanner Davis scoring the other six (Davis finished the game with eight points).
Wapahani was able to generate a fourth scoring option in the second half, with senior Talon Craycraft connecting on three 3-pointers and finishing the game with nine points. The Raiders’ only other scorer was Bailey Masters, who finished the game with three points.
“He’s kind of had a hard time getting going,” Evans said of Craycraft. “So just to see Talon make some shots is good. He’s one of the best shooters on our team, if not the best shooter. So he’s going to be able to get going.”
Evans said he personally has never had a stretch quite like the one he’s having now. His coach agrees.
“Not like this, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Luce said. “He’s a player, he always has been. I think before I met him, he was a player. And since I’ve met him, in sixth grade, he was a player. And the thing, again, he’s trying to play defense, at the same time while scoring the ball. He’s trying to lead our team.”
Shemar Isom was one of two Southside players to crack double figures, scoring 15 points. Braiden Reynolds was the other, finishing with 10 points.
Southside will host Jay County on Friday for its next game. Wapahani’s next game is its Mid-Eastern Conference opener Friday at Wes-Del.