Boys' first-round game
Grace Academy starters: Andrew Godsey (Jr.), Blake Savard (Sr.), Brandon McQueen (Sr.), Will Slack (Sr.), Chet Matheny (Sr).
Notre Dame starters: Brandon Harris (Sr.), Kealey Green (Jr.), A.J. Flemister (Jr.), Kareem Orr (Jr.), Tyler Byrd (So.).
Six weeks of rehab following elbow surgery just didn't give Andrew Godsey the feel for the game he wanted.
So to speed up the recovery process to the point that confidence in his shot returned, the Grace Academy junior spent six of seven days in the gym last week taking an extra 1-2 hours of practicing his ball-handling and shooting.
The results were an almost immediate payoff when he scored 17 points to lead the Golden Eagles to a 12-point win over Ridgeland, a team that had beaten Grace by 21 earlier this season while he was still recovering.
"It felt great to be back out there and feel like I knew I could contribute," Godsey said. "That was assurance that everything is going to be alright.
"We've also started clicking as a team lately. We're not doing anything special but we also aren't doing anything dumb. We just started making shots when we needed to and playing good defense. It's Simple basketball, but it's how we will win games."
Grace opens the Times Free Press Best of Preps holiday tournament Thursday against Notre Dame at 4 p.m. The tournament is being held again at Chattanooga State, with eight boys' teams and eight girls' teams, all local, competing.
Also a middle infielder in baseball, Godsey's surgery on his right elbow came after nearly three years of battling pain that affected him in both sports. Doctors eventually discovered was caused by a compressed nerve. He had surgery to repair the problem two months ago and now his return gives the Golden Eagles a steady presence at point guard.
He joins four seniors to give the Golden Eagles a veteran starting five.
"In just three games since he came back he's really made a big difference for us," Grace coach Jon Mattheiss said. "You just can't replace his leadership.
"It's not just his ball-handling ability, but just his presence on the floor. He settles the rest of the team down when we need it and he gives us another scoring threat out there."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.