GRAFTON—Just one day after a tough loss to Buckhannon-Upshur on the road Friday night, the Grafton Bearcats boys’ basketball team was back on the hardwood as they hosted Frankfort at Scotty Hamilton Gymnasium on Saturday.
The Falcons would win their third-straight game (and sixth out of their last seven) in a hard-fought 49-47 win over the Bearcats.
Grafton came into the game having played five straight road games, with three of those coming in the eastern panhandle. Frankfort was in a similar situation with their travel schedule, as the game against the Bearcats was the Falcons’ fourth straight road contest and sixth overall out of their first eight games.
However, before the varsity squads would face off, the JV teams began the evening with a very entertaining and competitive game, with the Bearcats leading 29-24 at halftime. The Falcons would hold the Bearcats to seven third-quarter points as they would take the lead and ultimately get the win by the score of 65-58. The Bearcats’ Justin Spiker scored 23 points in the loss, while Carson Lambert also had an excellent game for Grafton, knocking down two three-pointers on his way to 12 points. Cayden Boylen (9), Luke Wiseman (7), Tanner Moats (5), and Aiden Hartley (2) rounded out the scoring for the Bearcats. The Falcons were led by Jesse Hockaday and Will Toye with 18 and 15 points, respectively.
In the varsity matchup, the Falcons would get out to a large lead to begin the game, outscoring the Bearcats 21-12 in the first period and taking a 35-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Bearcats would claw their way back from a fifteen-point deficit in the second half, but would fall just short in the end, losing by two points and dropping to 4-5 on the season.
“I feel like I am repeating myself but we got off to a slow start again,” said Grafton head coach Michael Johnson after the game. “Frankfort also shot the ball extremely well from the floor in the first half. We challenged the boys to tighten up their defense and they responded by only giving up eight points in the second half. We took the lead with about two minutes to go and had the ball to win the game with about 15 seconds left but couldn’t get a shot off.”
Slow starts have plagued the Bearcats throughout the season, and Johnson knows that his team needs to become more consistent to get into the win column more often.
“I was proud of the way we fought back we but we have to find a way to put four quarters of basketball together,” he added.
Seniors Jack Faulkner and Matt Gallo led the Bearcats with 18 and 11 points while sophomore Ryan Maier added seven. Junior Blake Moore, returning from a serious knee injury that he suffered last year, added four points. Seniors Joe Charlton (4), Logan Beltner (3), and junior Kaden Delaney (2) rounded out the scoring for Grafton.
The Bearcats will be back in action tonight as they host Bridgeport at GHS. The JV game is scheduled for 5:45pm while the varsity will tipoff at 7:30pm.