By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
The 24-minute wait during halftime for the ceremony crowning “Mister and Miss GHS” gave the Graham G-Men some time to think about the defensive effort still required to put away a talented Grayson County Blue Devils squad.
That defense dried up the Blue Devils’ attack for enough stretches on Friday night to allow the G-Men to claim their fifth win in a row, 77-62 on the Graham Middle School court.
Graham head coach Glynn Carlock Jr. said, “They really brought it in here in the second half and got after them. And I was proud of them.”
Granted, there were stretches when Ty Cannaday was almost unstoppable for Grayson County (7-13). The athletic guard scored 32 points, almost half of his team’s total, nailing four treys and going 10 for 10 at the free throw line.
Graham (15-6) erupted to begin the second quarter, scoring 23 points in the frame for a 32-25 halftime advantage. Tony Hood provided the spark for the explosion, hitting a pair of three-pointers — and grabbing a pair of steals in between — as the G-Men pulled out of a 10-9 deficit after the first eight minutes.
After halftime, Grayson County was just 10 for 24 from the field.
With the score 61-51 in Graham’s favor, the G-Men went on a 7-0 run. Then, after a field goal and a missed free throw by Grayson County's big center Lucas Mitchell, bodies collided and a technical foul was called on a Grayson County player — followed by another on the visitors’ bench. Hill nailed three of four technical foul shots for a 71-53 lead.
A brief 9-0 scoring run helped the visitors trim their deficit to nine points, 71-62, with 1:37 left.
The Blue Devils went 0 for 5 from the floor after that, with four of those five shots being rebounded by Graham’s Thomas Clarke or Colby Hill.
Carlock said, “We’re just trying to amp up our defensive pressure in the second half. I think we did that.
“We posed some problems for them; we did a little better job rebounding in the second half. I thought we attacked the ball very, very well in the second half, and really put some pressure on them.”
Hill again topped the Graham scoring chart, with 34 points, after going 17 for 22 at the charity stripe and making four treys among his eight field goals.
Clarke added 15 points and Hood finished with 12.
Grayson County, in addition to Cannaday’s 32, got 13 points from Koby Hill.
Carlock said, “Ty Cannaday is one of the best players in this district and in this conference. He’s a competitor, he’s everything you exemplify in a basketball program. But I think I’ve got a few guys who can match that as well. We’ve got some good guys.”
The Blue Devils had won their previous two games by margins of 42 and 26 points, but saw their two-game win streak end.
The G-Men wrap up the regular season on Tuesday with a home game against Giles — the last team to beat them, 69-61 on Jan. 27. Grayson County hosts Fort Chiswell on Tuesday.
At Graham Middle School
James Williams 1 0-0 2, Ty Cannaday 9 10-10 32, Bailey Hawkins 0 0-1 0, Koby Hill 5 1-1 13, Max Rodgers 3 2-4 8, Lucas Mitchell 1 3-6 5. Totals 20 16-22 62.
Tony Hood 4 2-9 12, Nick Morgan 2 0-0 5, Roman Workman 5 1-2 11, Thomas Clarke 5 3-5 15, Colby Hill 8 17-22 34. Totals 24 23-38 77.
Grayson County..........10 15 16 21 — 62
Graham.........................9 23 26 29 — 77
3-point goals — GC 6 (Cannaday 4, K. Hill 2); GHS 9 (Hood 2, Morgan 1, Clarke 2, C. Hill 4). Fouled out — none.