GRAFTON— It was a battle of the cats Tuesday night, as the Grafton High School Bearcat boys basketball team took to their home court in a matchup against the Elkins Tigers; putting on a great display of athleticism and earning an impressive win.
While the Tigers opened the game as the first to put points on the board, the Bearcats were quick to respond, matching the pace of play and answering the Tigers’ first points with quick layups by GHS’s Ryan Maier.
Elkins kept up the tempo and got hot from behind the arch, taking an early lead over the Cats ending the first eight minutes of play with the score sitting at 11-19.
Once again, it was the Tigers opening the quarter with a made three pointer. Although Maier would once again answer that basket with a couple of fast break layups, the Bearcats remained a step behind.
Fortunately for the Bearcats, early on in the second quarter of action, GHS’s Kaden Delaney shutdown an Elkins run with a block, that he turned into a fast break play. Unable to connect with the layup, Delaney still managed to sink both of his free throws, bringing the Cats within striking distance with the score sitting at 17-22.
It was that play by Delaney that ignited the energy of not only the GHS players on the floor, but got the bench and spectators roaring with excitement. From there the Cats gained their momentum and staged their comeback.
Over the final minutes of the first half, the Bearcats forced the Tigers to make back-to-back turnovers, both of which led to made Bearcat baskets, one of which was a three-point that connected for Maier and the other a layup by Delaney.
Those two buckets had the Cats nipping at the Tigers’ tails, being just one point down.
On the very next Grafton possession, guard Justin Spiker knocked down a three, to give his team their first lead of the game, and the Cats rolled on from there.
Elkins, realizing they could be in some trouble with the energy being displayed by the Bearcats, began running a full court press, hoping to place some pressure on their opponents.
However, Grafton was quick to break the press with precise passes and continued to build their lead. The Bearcats would head into the locker room at the break with a comfortable 42-28 lead over the Tigers.
The third quarter of play was opened by Grafton with a Blake Moore three-pointer and a layup from Delaney.
Keeping up with their pre halftime rhythm, the Bearcats rallied to a 30 point lead with 4:38 still remaining in the third.
Starting the final quarter of the game with a score of 77-39, Grafton continued fast pace play and would own the court, driving into the paint and putting the ball on the glass.
The Tigers put up a hard fight, hoping for some luck at the three-point line to help them get back into the game, but just couldn’t seem to connect. That coupled with Tiger fouls, and a tough Bearcat defense, just wouldn’t allow Elkins the opportunity.
When the buzzer sounded, bringing play to a close, the Bearcats had put up an impressive 100 points on the night, making the final Bearcats 100, Elkins 47.
In an outstanding display of determination and athleticism, Maier led the way for Grafton, tallying up 41 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five steals.
Spiker also had a good night finishing strong with 16 points, nine of which came from the three-point range.
Also contributing to the team’s win were Delaney and Moore with 15 points each, Tanner Moats (7) and JT Veltri (6).
This win brings Grafton to 6-1 on the season.
The Bearcats were back in action on Thursday evening and took on Preston High School. The results from that matchup will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Mountain Statesman.