FAIRMONT— Coming off an exhilarating sectional semi-final win at the buzzer over Notre Dame, # 8 Grafton (12-4) hit the road traveling to Fairmont to take on the #2 Polar Bears of Fairmont Senior High School (14-1), in a sectional finals showdown.
It would be Blake Moore and Tanner Moats opening the game for the Bearcats, each connecting with the bottom of the net on three-point attempts; combining to score all eight of the team’s first quarter points.
However, when the first minutes of play were over, the Bearcats sat behind Polar Bears by four.
Finding a better shooting rhythm in the second quarter, Grafton racked up 18 points, scored by the hands of five different players; Ryan Maier, Moats, Justin Spiker, Moore and JT Veltri.
Fighting for their chance to advance, on the defensive end, the Cats managed to hold the Polar Bears to just nine points within that quarter, taking them into the break with a five-point lead, the score sitting at 26-21. But, in the second half of action, Fairmont would turn the tables on Grafton.
While the Bearcats managed to keep the contest close through the third quarter, Polar Bear J. Johnson led the way claiming 14 of the team’s 24 points to start the second half.
Grafton found themselves making several trips to the foul line during the third, going five-for-eight and pounded the glass for 15 of their own points to bring the score to 41-45 in favor of Fairmont as they headed into the final minutes of play.
Now the Polar Bear defense was on in full force, pushing the Bearcats out of the paint and challenging every shot attempt, holding the Cats to just nine points in the fourth.
Unfortunately for Grafton, Fairmont hadn’t only stepped up there defensive efforts, but continued to be in a shooting rhythm, tallying 16 points for the fourth quarter.
This would be enough to seal their fate, and the Polar Bears walked away victorious, topping Grafton 50-60.
Maier and Spiker were outstanding for the Cats on the night, each racking up 11 points, with teammates Moats and Moore adding a combined 20 points for their team, with ten each.
Also in the scoring column for Grafton were, Kaden Delaney (6) and Veltri (2).
On the night, the Bearcats were eight of 18 from the free throw line.
Despite the loss, the Cats moved to play #1 Robert C. Byrd (12-1) on the road last night for the Class AAA Region II Final. Results from that contest will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Mountain Statesman.