GRAFTON—The Grafton Bearcats’ boys’ basketball team headed back to the eastern panhandle on Saturday for their third trip in a week, this time facing off against Berkeley Springs (4-4). The Indians were coming off a lopsided 66-37 loss to Frankfort, while Grafton (3-3) had just played one of their better games of the season, knocking off Keyser on the road by the score of 53-39.
Using a big second half led by senior Jack Faulkner and sophomore Ryan Maier, the Bearcats erased a 30-24 halftime deficit to win by the score of 65-61.
Faulkner would finish with 25 points while Maier had his usual solid game, finishing with 18 points on the evening. Senior Matt Gallo also played well, getting to the line often and making crucial free throws. Kaden Delaney (6) and Logan Beltner (4) did all of their scoring in the second half to spark the Bearcats in their come-from-behind win.
In this particular matchup, the halves were two different stories, as Grafton had a hard time getting much going to start the game. After some halftime adjustments by head coach Michael Johnson, Grafton got the ball rolling and went on their run to close out the contest and come away with a much-needed four-point win.
“I thought we weren’t very good in the first half,” said Johnson after the game. “We just didn’t play with any energy or emotion. In the second half we pressed and trapped them to speed the game up and get the tempo where we wanted it. We finally found some rhythm in the second half and got out of there with a win.”
Although the Bearcats have played three away games (all in the panhandle) since Dec. 28, they still have another away contest coming up, this time on the road against Buckhannon Upshur on Friday. After starting the season 0-2, the Buccaneers have won four straight heading into games against Lewis County and North Marion this week before they host the Bearcats.
“We have to be much better moving forward than we were tonight,” added Johnson when talking about his upcoming schedule.
In JV action, the Bearcats’ Justin Spiker put on a show, scoring 36 points in Grafton’s 55-36 win over the Indians. The sophomore connected on six 3-pointers in the contest while scoring 20 of his 36 points in the second half. Also having solid games for the Bearcats was junior Dante Owens (6) and sophomore Cayden Boylen (5). Rounding out the scoring for the Bearcats were Tanner Moats, Luke Wiseman, Aiden Hartley, and Carlson Lambert, each with two points.
After traveling to Buckhannon Upshur on Friday, Grafton will return home to host the Frankfort Falcons the next evening at Scotty Hamilton Gymnasium at GHS. Thursday and Friday’s varsity contests are both scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.