By JONATHAN GREENE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
Last week was a rough week for the Graham G-Men. After dropping two straight games, the G-Men were looking to close out the regular season strong.
Graham raced out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter then held off a late rally by Fort Chiswell for a 61-58 victory on Tuesday night at Graham Middle School.
“We’ve had a couple tough games back-to-back with Grayson County and Bland,” Graham head coach Glynn Carlock said. “We had a rough week last week. It was nice to get back on track tonight and get a district win.”
The G-Men (15-6, 7-2 MED) opened the game scoring in bunches and led 17-7 late in the opening period before taking a 34-25 lead into the break. The Pioneers (10-10) rallied back as they outscored Graham 33-27 in the second half, but they could never get closer than two points.
“We do that late,” Fort Chiswell head coach Dyer Jackson said.” When we get down, we always seem to comeback. They started playing. I don’t think we played much early on.
“It didn’t seem like we were here mentally. It hurts. That could have put us back in the hunt for second place in the district. That was good opportunity for us and we missed out on it.”
The game was close early as Fort Chiswell built a 3-0 lead after a free throw by Coleman Thomas and a steal and score from Daniel Hamm. The G-Men scored five straight to take the lead thanks to a steal and score by Tony Hood and a Colby Hill drive and free throw.
After Levi Mooney hit Thomas to tie the game, Graham went on 12-2 run to take control.
Spencer Sheets knocked down a three then Hood followed with two of his own.
Their lead was 19-8 before Brett Mabry added two scores late in the period for the Pioneers.
“I thought Graham shot the ball really well outside,” Jackson said. “We didn’t do a great job of defending out of our zone. They’d throw it inside and our guards would get sucked in and not stay on the outside shot.
“I thought they shot the ball well in the first half. We were sort of dead. Our defense wasn’t up to par like it should be.”
Graham kept the pressure on Fort Chiswell in the second quarter and rebuilt their lead to 10 points. Sheets took a fastbreak in for a score then Zach Proffitt added a bucket and a reverse lay-in.
The Pioneers went on a quick 6-2 run, but Hill drilled a three to give Graham a 34-25 advantage going into the break.
“We strive to try to score 20 points a quarter,” Carlock said. “That’s our goal. We’ve talked about that all season. We feel like if we can get near that then we’ll have a pretty good quarter.
“First quarter we had 19, but we weren’t able to match it the rest of them. We had to speed the game up tonight and play the game a little faster by pressing some.”
The G-Men’s led grew to 14 points on two occasions early in the third, but Fort Chiswell slowly started to chip away.
Mabry and Jarred Hovencamp hit three’s to help spark a 12-4 run to close out the third quarter.
Hood connected on one of two free throws to start the fourth quarter and Sheets took a steal coast-to-coast for a score.
However, the Pioneers cut the lead to two after a lay-in from Mooney and putback by Dylan Hale.
Roman Workman answered with a three for Graham then Hill had a lay-in to push the margin back up to seven, 55-48, with 2:11 left.
Fort Chiswell could not get closer than three down stretch thought despite several missed free throws by the G-Men.
“I thought we missed a considerable amount of free throws down the stretch,” Carlock commented. “I thought if we would have made our free throws it would have got up to a 10-point game. [Fort Chiswell] did hit some shots late which extended the game.
“Bottom line for us is if we’re shooting the ball well from the field, we should be able to make our free throws. If we’re not shooting the ball well, when you stand there at the charity strip you should at least make the front end of one-and-one. We’ll get back in the gym and try to correct it.”
Hill led Graham with 21 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Hood added 12 points while Proffitt finished with 12 points, four boards and three assists. Workman had five points and eight rebounds.
Hale’s 15 points paced the Pioneers. Thomas and Mabry each had 10.
The G-Men close out the regular season Friday at Grayson as part of a quadruple header.
At Graham Middle School
FORT CHISWELL (10-10, 4-4)
Levi Mooney 4, Brett Mabry 10, Jarred Hovencamp 5, Daniel Hamm 8, Desmond Perry 6, Dylan Hale 15, Coleman Thomas 10. Totals- 25 6-12 58.
GRAHAM (16-5, 7-2)
Tony Hood 12, Spencer Sheets 7, Roman Workman 5, Marshall Hawley 2, Colby Hill 21, Zach Proffitt 12, Jonathan Figueroa 2. Totals- 23 9-19 61.
Fort Chiswell...................12 13 16 17 — 58
Graham............................19 15 12 15 — 61
3 pt field goals: FC 2 (Mabry, Hovencamp); G 6 (Hood 2, Hill 2, Sheets, Workman). Fouled out- Mooney.