GRAFTON—After dropping their first game of the season to Bridgeport last Tuesday, the Grafton Bearcats boys’ basketball team stormed back to win their next two games, first against Lewis County on Thursday and then again Saturday against Liberty.
The Bearcats would ultimately dominate both games, dropping the Minutemen by the score of 73-37 and knocking off the Mountaineers in Grafton’s much-anticipated home opener by the score of 71-46.
Against Lewis County, Kaden Delaney scored 16 points, Justin Spiker had 13, and Ryan Maier added 11 as the Bearcats would overcome a slow first-quarter start, outscoring the Minutemen by 25 points in the second period to cruise a 36-point victory at the end of regulation.
Rounding out the scoring for Grafton were Jacob Maier (8), Harrison Maier (7), JT Veltri (6), Tanner Moats (5), Isaac Lough (3), Blake Moore (2), and Andrew Gallo (2).
In the JV contest, Grafton would hold on to a hard-fought 61-55 victory as Isaac Lough knocked down five threes while scoring 18 points in the Bearcats’ come-from-behind win. Jacob Maier had 11 points (all in the first half), while Mason Dunham added seven. Rounding out the scoring for Grafton were Harrison Maier (6), Cayden Boylen (6), Bryson Bish (5), Cyrus Hake (3), and Matt Helmondollar (2).
The varsity squad was back in action Saturday against Liberty as Grafton took only a four-point lead into the locker room at halftime, but used a big third quarter surge to pull away from the Mountaineers to secure a 25-point victory.
After a slow start and eventually grabbing the lead in that first half, Grafton head coach Mike Johnson wasn’t satisfied with what he saw from his squad to begin the contest.
“I wasn’t pleased with our effort in the first half at all,” said Johnson. “We didn’t come out with any energy and enthusiasm. It’s hard because we have a big gym and it seems empty because of the limited crowds. But we have to be able to generate our own energy and in the first half, I didn’t feel like we did that. We challenged them at the half and I thought we responded in the second half, especially in the third quarter.”
Ryan Maier led the Bearcats with 22 points while Justin Spiker added 17. Blake Moore chipped in 10 points while Kaden Delaney added eight. Rounding out the scoring for Grafton were JT Veltri (7), Tanner Moats (4), and Jacob Maier (3).
Jordan Jones scored nine points for Liberty while three other Mountaineers added eight points each.
Grafton (5-1) was back in action last night as they hosted Elkins, but results from that contest were not immediately available.
“We are a work in progress but I like the direction we are heading,” added Johnson when asked about the outlook of his program right now. “It seems like we have had different guys step up every night and that is a good thing moving forward.”