GRAFTON—After meeting up with Notre Dame High School twice in the regular season, the Grafton High School Bearcats hosted the Fighting Irish once more on Wednesday evening for a Class AAA Region II Sectional I Semifinal matchup.
Taking the W in both of their previous matchups by an average of 12.5 points, Grafton was led to victory by senior guard Ryan Maier, with 18 points, opening his scoring with a triple in the first.
The Bearcats went to work early going on an early 9-0 run.
Notre Dame’s Jaidyn West would end the scoring drought for the Irish connecting on a jumper and would keep his team within striking distance, tallying eight of their 11 first quarter points.
Adding to Maier’s opening three ball was Justin Spiker, recording two outside shots of his own in the frame, with field goals from Kaden Delaney and JT Veltri giving the Cats a 13-11 lead at the end of the first.
Falling into another scoring slump in the second, Grafton’s defense was able to keep West off the rim, holding him scoreless.
The Irish added just six points to the board before the half time break, while Spiker remained dialed in from behind the arc, connecting on two more, while Veltri went to work in the paint for four points in the second.
Maier would also add five to Grafton’s total before the half, three coming from the foul line, as he shot 50 percent from the stripe in the second.
Going into the half, the Bearcats led 28-17. The Irish were quick to cut into that lead coming out of the break with a three by Trey Petitto.
Delaney would be a key player for the Bearcats in the third. With the Irish battling back, he stepped up his game inside and led the quarter with eight points.
Grafton would manage to hold Notre Dame off in the frame, outscoring the Irish by a slim 15-13 margin.
West and Dom Zummo led Notre Dame in the quarter with four points each.
With one final eight-minute segment standing between them and a chance to meet up with No. 3 Fairmont Senior in the Region II Sectional I Championship game on Friday, the Bearcats wrapped up the game with 25 fourth quarter points.
West would again cut into the Cats’ lead with a three, but on the other end, Isaac Lough answered for Grafton, connecting on one of his own.
Maier would lead the quarter in scoring for the Bearcats with eight and tied West for game high scorer with 19 points.
Unable to get closer than six, the Irish succumbed to the Cats and were handed the 20-point loss to end their season.
With a 68-48 victory, the Cats traveled to the Fairmont Field House last night looking to knock off the top ranked Polar Bears and be named Region II Section I Champions.
The results of the Grafton, Fairmont Senior matchup were not available by press time and will be featured in the next edition of the Mountain Statesman.
Player scoring stats: Ryan Maier: FG-1, 3PT-3, FT- 8/14, TP- 19; Tanner Moats: FG-2, FT-1/2, TP-5; Jacob Maier: 3PT-1, TP-3; Justin Spiker: FG- 1, 3PT-4, TP-14; Isaac Lough: FG-2, 3PT- 1TP-7, Kaden Delaney: FG-5, FT-1/2 TP-11 ; JT Veltri: FG-4, FT-1/1 TP-9.