Bearcats host North Marion in Regional final

GRAFTON – The Grafton High School boys basketball team (10-15) will host the North Marion Huskies tonight in the WV AA Region 1 finals in the Scotty Hamilton Gymnasium. This will be a winner-takes-all contest as the team who wins will advance to the AA state tournament and the losing team will see their season come to an end.

The teams have met one time this season with the Huskies coming away with a 41 to 36 win over the Cats.

In the first contest both teams managed just six points in the first quarter, but the Cats would be two points better than the Huskies in the second as GHS would take a 17 to 15 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Huskies found some inspiration at the half as they outscored the Cats 15 to 9 in the third quarter as this would be the deciding factor in the game as the Cats would fall 41 to 36.

The Bearcats had seven players to record points in the scorebook but not a single player was in double figures.

Caleb Bish was the top point getter of GHS as he scored eight points in the contest. The remaining points were scored by Ryan Maier (6), Blake Moore (6), Jack Faulkner (5), Dylan Massie (5), Garrett Moats (3) and Logan Beltner (2).

This season the Huskies are 12-12 on the season with wins over Liberty, Keyser, Winfield, Roane, Lincoln, Weir, Lewis, East Fairmont, Preston, Grafton and Oak Glen. The Huskies advanced to the Region after defeating Oak Glen 49 to 46 and then losing to Fairmont Senior 68 to 37.

“There’s a lot on the line tonight against the Huskies,” said head coach Michael Johnson. “North Marion is a good basketball team and they have some good wins on the season. They are a solid team with their best player being Gunner Murphy who is both good on the inside but can also step out and play on the outside for the Huskies,” he added.

The Huskies will play some man to man and some zone defense and they like to pressure the ball on occasion.

“The Huskies have decent size and are a very quick ball club,” said Johnson. “The first time we played them is was a defensive struggle.”

In comparison of the two teams the Bearcats have scored 1549 points on the season and have allowed 1566 to their opponents while in one less game the Huskies have scored 1243 and allowed 1452.

The Cats are averaging 62 points per game and allowing their opponents to average 63 while the Huskies are averaging 52 and allowing 60.

In fact the Cats are 10 and 5 when scoring 57 or more points in the contest. Maybe the lucky number for GHS will be 58 as they have scored that amount in both of their sectional wins.

In those wins Coach Johnson has seen his team improve week after week.

“Over the past four weeks we have been playing much better on the defensive end of the floor and that is why we have been playing better basketball and finding success,” says Coach Johnson.

“We have made some adjustments offensively that have helped us also but we always tell the boys that good defensive leads to good offensive and that has been the case for us. Hopefully we have found our stride at the right time of the year,” he concluded.

The Cats will be in action tonight as they host the North Marion Huskies with the tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

The admission at the gate will be $7 for students and adults, and only WVSSAC passes will be accepted and allowed in without a charge, according to Athletic Director Rich Bord.

Students may purchase advanced tickets at the office at GHS for $5 the day of the game. The student ticket price will go back to $7 if purchased at the gate before the game.

If you have any questions about the price please contact the GHS main office.

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