Bearcats unable to keep up with Polar Bears

Bearcat JT Veltri bounds into the air looking to block a Polar Bear shot attempt.

GRAFTON—Sitting at an 8-1 record, after winning the last five of their six matchups, The #10 Grafton High School (GHS) boys basketball team traveled to Fairmont on March 30 to take on #2 Fairmont Senior High School Polar Bears (9-0).

Before the varsity squads took to the court, the JV Bearcats and Polar Bears went head-to-head.

Unfortunately for the Cats, the games started out in favor of the Bears, and would continue on that way until the final buzzer.

During the first quarter of play, despite their best efforts, Grafton only managed to put five points on the board, while Fairmont tallied up 16 points.

By halftime the Bearcats had found a little bit of luck finding the bottom of the net, but still continued to face struggles against the cleanly executed Polar Bear defense, who committed just seven fouls the entire game.

At the break, GHS was behind by 13, with the score sitting at 36-23.

Despite giving it their best effort, the JV Cats were just never able to put themselves within striking distance, and ultimately dropped the contest with a score of 68-41. 

The Bearcats were led in scoring by Isaac Lough with 10, and Bryson Bish with nine.

When the varsity Cats took to the floor they were looking to add to their winning streak, with their last loss coming from Bridgeport mid-March.

Grafton started strong, keeping the pace fast, and getting open looks, to end the first quarter of action leading Fairmont 15-12.

However, throughout the next eight minutes of play, the Polar Bears began dominating the glass, and went to the locker room with a comfortable 10-point advantage.

With the start of the second half, the Cats were hoping to make a run, and turned up their defensive efforts. Grafton was able to add 13 points to their total during the third quarter, but in turn, Fairmont added another 22, bringing the score to 57-38, with eight minutes remaining.

At the end of the grueling battle, the Cats fell to the Polar Bears with a final score of 78-51, dropping to 8-2 on the season, while Fairmont moved to 10-0.

One of the contributing factors to the Cats’ loss was Fairmont’s standout J. Johnson, whose athleticism proved to be too much for the Bearcat defensive, as he totaled 34 points on the night.

Leading scorers for GHS were Justin Spiker with 14, two of which came from behind the arch, and Ryan Maier, who followed closely behind with 13 points.

The Cats attempted to bounce back from their loss to Fairmont on Thursday, April 1, on their home court against the North Marion Huskies. The results of that contest will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Mountain Statesman.


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