GRAFTON—After dropping the overtime heartbreaker to Bridgeport High School last week, the Grafton High School (GHS) varsity boys’ basketball team was ready to reignite their winning streak at home on Wednesday evening, as they hosted the Robert C. Byrd (RCB) Flying Eagles.
The Bearcats would open quick, winning the tip and seeing a three ball from Tanner Moats connect on their first possession on the game, giving them their first lead, a lead that they held on to throughout play.
During the 32 minutes of action, the Cats never trailed the Eagles, leading from start to finish to come away with the 86-65 victory.
After Moats’ opening triple, the Eagles’ first trip up the court ended with a turnover to the Bearcats, and unfortunately for RCB, the trend would continue for them as they would commit five turnovers in both the first and second quarters.
Off their first possession turnover from the Eagles, it was Senior Ryan Maier sending the assist to Moats, who once again would nail the outside triple, jumping Grafton out to a 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest.
Maier would add another floater to the tally before the Eagles would see their first basket.
Thomason finally put RCB on the board with 4:50 left in the opening frame. His basket sent a spark of energy through the Eagles, who would capitalize on the rebound off of a couple of missed Bearcat free throws, finding the open hands of Cooley. Cooley drained the catch and release three for the Eagles, cutting the Bearcat lead to five fast.
However, Kaden Delaney would widen Grafton’s lead back to nine on consecutive trips in the paint.
As the first quarter was in its final minutes, Maier would interfere with an Eagles’ inbound pass and take the steal all the way to the rim, giving the Cats the 18-7 advantage going into the second quarter.
RCB’s King made a trip to the foul line to start the second. He went 1 for 2, putting the Eagles back within eight, but this is the closest they would come to the Bearcats for the rest of the night, as the Grafton lead continued to climb.
With under five to play before the break, Jacob Maier would find his brother, earning the assist on R. Maier’s three.
The Eagles answered on the other end, draining a three of their own, but were still faced with a ten-point deficit, with the scoring sitting at 25-15 in favor of the Cats.
More turnovers from the Eagles led to a run for the Bearcats, who carried a nine-point lead into the break with a 34-26 score.
The Bearcats opened the back half playing with as much energy as they did in the first, with an immediate steal and lay in by R. Maier.
Over the next several minutes, the Eagles and Bearcats would exchange baskets, with the Cats always having an offensive answer and maintaining the lead.
The Bearcats would earn a 19-point lead over the Eagles with 2:39 left in the third after a series of fortunate events that started off with an Isaac Lough rebound.
Lough crashed the board to pull down an offensive rebound off a missed free throw, going right back up with it, Lough added two to the Cats’ side of the score.
Solid defense brough up an empty possession for RCB who lost the handle and sent R. Maier to the line at the other end of the court.
R. Maier connected on both, and Justin Spiker added a lay in to the Bearcat run off a steal, giving the Cats the 56-37 advantage.
RCB, looking to battle back, put full court pressure on Grafton, however, it proved to be ineffective against the Bearcat’s fast precision passes.
With just over 40 seconds left in the third, Grafton’s lead had swelled to 21, but was cut back 18 after RCB closed their scoring the frame with a triple.
The Bearcats would record one final field goal in the third, with an assist from R. Maier to Spiker.
The final quarter began with the Bearcats ahead by 20 and ended much of the same way.
Although the Eagles nearly matched the Bearcat scoring in the fourth, 19-20, the Cats’ early lead was too much for RCB to overcome.
Delaney went to work in the paint for Grafton in the final minutes of play, recording eight in the frame to contribute to the 86-65 Bearcat win.
Player scoring stats vs Bridgeport: Ryan Maier: FG-2, FT- 15/19, TP- 19; Tanner Moats: FG-3, FT-1/1, TP-8; Justin Spiker: FG- 1, 3PT-2, FT- 2/5, TP-10; Isaac Lough: FG-2, TP-4, Kaden Delaney: FG-9, FT- 8/15, TP-26; JT Veltri: FG-1, TP-2
Player scoring stats vs RCB: Ryan Maier: FG-7, 3PT-2 FT- 7/8, TP- 26; James Helmondollar: FG-1, TP-2; Tanner Moats: FG-1,3PT-1, FT-1/1, TP-6; Jacob Maier: FG-1, TP-2 ;Justin Spiker: FG- 5, 3PT-2, FT- 2/4, TP-18; Isaac Lough: FG-1, TP-2, Kaden Delaney: FG-9, 3PT- 1, FT- 4/5, TP-25; JT Veltri: FG-1, FT- 2/2, TP-4