Sometime last summer, just a few months after Grandview celebrated its first state title, coach Reggie Morris approached soon-to-be senior DeAndre Sorrells with a request. He needed Sorrells to move to point guard for the first time in his high school career, a spot that would allow him to take over the team’s leadership role.
It all came to fruition this season, and on Saturday, it played out on the biggest stage yet.
Sorrells led Grandview to a second straight Missouri Class 4 state championship, scoring 26 points in a 69-64 victory against St. Mary’s at JQH Arena in Springfield.
“I told you. I told you,” Sorrells kept repeating as he circled the gym in celebration.
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Twelve months after winning its first state title in program history, the Bulldogs’ wait was much shorter this time around. They lost only twice while defending their title, finishing their season on a 20-game winning streak to close out with a 29-2 record.
Grandview was coasting in the third quarter, but St. Mary’s erased a 16-point lead and held a 60-59 advantage with 70 seconds remaining. Then Sorrells re-emerged as the game’s central character. After making a pair of free throws, he swiped the ball at the top of the key and raced downcourt for a layup.
Grandview never trailed again.
“It was crazy,” Sorrells said. “But I trust all my guys. I looked at every single one of them on the court and off the court, and nobody put their head down. I told them, ‘We got this. All we gotta do is play defense and play our game.’”
Grandview spoiled an inspiring effort from St. Mary’s senior Yuri Collins, who led all scorers with 34 points. His three-pointer with 2 minutes left gave St. Mary’s its brief lead.
Sorrells, all 5-foot-10 of him, willed his team back. He was a constant presence in the lane and perhaps even more comfortable in his old spot — outside the three-point arc. The school’s all-time leading three-point shooter made two of them in a third-quarter run that ballooned Grandview’s advantage to 16.
St. Mary’s responded with an 18-4 run of its own, and the teams played within a six-point window into the final seconds. Grandview center Kamto Eze added 17 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman Taj Manning had 13.
“Experience is the greatest teacher,” Morris said. “So when they took the lead up one, I knew that because of who we are that we weren’t going to bow down; we weren’t going to pout; we weren’t going to point fingers. We rose up to the occasion and continued to get stops. I knew that great things were going to happen for us.”
St. Mary’s, playing for its first state championship, opened the game on a 10-2 run, prompting an early Grandview timeout.
After the Bulldogs’ semifinal win, Morris had credited Sorrells with a willingness to let his teammates take the scoring reins. He assumed that role Saturday.
“A lot of people have been saying that I’m just a shooter, but I knew that I could play the point guard position,” Sorrells said. “I just took the role and just ran with it.”