By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
It was a win, but it felt like a loss to Glynn Carlock, Jr.
The shooters were as cold as the conditions outside Graham Middle School, but the Graham G-Men were able to escape with a 37-33 Mountain Empire District win over two-time defending Division 1 state champion Galax on Thursday night.
“What I am going to do is credit Galax because their man-to-man defense in halfcourt has bothered us for two straight games now,” said Carlock, whose G-Men won 55-38 at Galax earlier this month. “They did what they had to do, they had a nice game plan and you have got to credit their kids.
“They don’t have an enormous amount of shooters on their team, but daggone if they don’t play hard.”
Graham (13-4, 5-0) will return to the gym today, snow or shine, in preparation for Grayson County on Monday. If the Blue Devils win tonight against Fort Chiswell, both teams will enter the game with 5-0 league marks.
“We have got to get in the gym tomorrow and practice and get better,” Carlock said. “Hopefully we can get in here tomorrow barring bad weather and correct some things and get some kinks out of the armor.”
Neither team shot the ball well, with Graham actually making two less field goals (12-10) than the Maroon Tide. The G-Men were 10 for 35 from the field, while Galax 14 for 22.
Graham outscored the Maroon Tide 14-5 at the free throw line, led by Tony Hood, who was 7 for 10 and Spencer Sheets, who was 5 for 6 from the charity stripe.
“We had an off night and fortunately that is having a super off night playing a team that is playing hard, they have come up short a lot,” Carlock said. “Coach (Verl) Brown seems to think they are getting better and it is very obvious by watching them tonight that they are getting better.
“You have got to credit them and we have to get better because that is not going to get it done in the next five ball games.”
The clubs traded the lead early before Zach Profitt put Graham up to stay with a 5-4 with just under a minute left in the opening quarter. The G-Men led 16-10 at the half, and 24-19 going into the final period.
Graham built its lead to 34-24 on four free throws by Hood with 1:12 left in the game, but the Galax suddenly found its stroke, with Caleb Bartlett connecting on 3 and Keyshawn Brown adding two more in a span of 33 seconds before Hood made a free throw for the final margin with 8.4 seconds on the clock.
Despite the loss, Galax (2-13, 1-5) continues to play like the team that won two straight Division 1 state championships, holding Graham far below its scoring average of 63.8 points entering the game.
“That is Galax basketball, they have always been known for hard man-to-man defense and getting after you,” Carlock said. “They might have lost 10 or 12 seniors on that team, but they didn’t lose the principles that they run.
“Their principles are sound and I think that showed tonight and it also showed in the first game. We were able to get out on them and shoot layups in the first game, they did a nice job tonight of getting back and not allowing us to get open layups.
“Coach Brown does a great job with them and we are fortunate to get the win.”
Sheets led Graham with 14 points, while Hill added 12 and Hood tallied seven. Galax was paced by Keyshawn Brown with eight, seven by Chase Garvey and six each from Steven Peoples and Caleb Bartlett.
Carlock expects the Maroon Tide to be a scary team when tournament time arrives.
“They have hard-nosed gritty kids that roll their sleeves up and go to work every day, but we will take two wins against them,” Carlock said. “They were both hard fought wins and by no means does their record show their capabilities.
“I think they have the ability to jump up and scare somebody and beat somebody before this season is over and maybe make a run to get into the playoffs. I just hope we get better.”
—Contact Brian Woodson
at Graham Middle School
GALAX (2-13, 1-5)
Caleb Pack 2 0-4 4, Steven Peoples 2 2-2 6, Charles Quesenberry 1 0-0 2, Chase Garvey 2 3-4 7, Dominic DiGiaromo 0 0-0 0, Keyshawn Brown 3 0-0 8, Darian Brown 0 0-1 0, Caleb Bartlett 2 0-0 6, Dustin Matheny 0 0-0 0, Takeem Bryson 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 5-11 33
GRAHAM (13-4, 5-0)
Tony Hood 0 7-10 7, Spencer Sheets 4 5-6 14, Marshall Hawley 1 0-0 2, Colby Hill 4 2-6 12, Zach Proffitt 1 0-0 2, Roman Workman 0 0-0 0, Samuel Stowers 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 14-22 37.
Galax.......................................4 6 9 14 — 33
Graham....................................7 9 8 13 — 37
3-point goals: GX 4 (Bartlett 2, K.Brown 2); GR 3 (Hill 2, Sheets 1). Total fouls: GX 17; GR 12. Fouled out: Garvey. Technicals: none.