BRIDGEPORT—Coming off of two blowout wins and a hard-fought victory over Notre Dame, the Grafton Bearcats boys basketball team visited Bridgeport on Tuesday, looking to extend their winning streak to four games.
The Indians had other plans, however, as they ran out to a quick lead in the first period and never looked back, knocking off the previously undefeated Bearcats (3-1) by the score of 87-69.
“First off, all the credit goes to Bridgeport,” said Grafton head coach Mike Johnson. “They played hard and shot the lights out. We were terrible in the first half. We didn’t defend, we stood around offensively, we didn’t play with any effort or emotion, and we simply got our butts kicked in that first half. I thought we played hard in the second half, but our execution was still poor. You can’t show up and play a half of basketball and expect to win in the Big 10.”
Bridgeport led 25-14 after the first period and 48-24 at the half. After Grafton outscored Bridgeport by two in the third quarter of play, the score stood at 61-49 in Bridgeport’s favor heading into the fourth.
The Indians would outscore the Bearcats by six points in the final period to claim an 18-point victory and move to 3-2 on the season.
GHS senior Blake Moore again led the Bearcats in scoring with 23 points, with 21 of those coming in the second half.
Junior Justin Spiker added 12 points (all three pointers), while sophomore JT Veltri chipped in 10 points. Senior Ryan Maier was held to eight points as Tanner Moats and Jacob Maier rounded out the scoring for Grafton with four points and two points, respectively.
Bridgeport was led by Jack Bifano with 24 points. Jaden Haywood added 16, and Connor Messe finished right behind Haywood with 15 points.
Although it was a rough night overall for Johnson and his Bearcats, he still understands what kind of a team he has and what they need to do moving forward.
“You never want to lose but hopefully we can learn from this,” Johnson added. “We have the potential to be a dangerous basketball team, but if we don’t play with effort and energy then we are just an average basketball team.”
In the JV contest, Jacob Maier scored 10 points, Isaac Lough added nine, and Harrison Maier chipped in seven as GHS dropped a 63-34 decision to the Indians.
The Bearcats were back in action on Thursday against Lewis County, but results from that contest were not immediately available.
They will return home tonight to host the Liberty Mountaineers at 8:30 p.m. at Scotty Hamilton Gymnasium.