By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLAND, Va. —
It was a Workman-like effort for Graham.
With Graham in the midst of a shooting slump, Glynn Carlock Jr. has been telling his G-Men to take the ball to the basket. Roman Workman listens well.
Workman scored 22 points, and also had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Graham was able to withstand a late Bland County rally to pull away for a 67-49 victory on Friday night at Bland High School.
Basketball is all about improvement, and the Bears certainly looked the part to Carlock. Graham took a 28-0 lead on it way to a 73-39 win over Graham earlier this month, but the Bears were within 11 and a chance to get within single digits with just over three minutes left in the game.
“They play well in this gym. Coach (Rich) Hankins has done a good job with those guys,” Carlock said. “The last time we played them to this time, they have really grown up a lot and they have really responded well to their home court tonight and responded to having a bad night the last time against us and they played extremely hard and they are much better team than they were earlier in the year.”
Bland County (3--11) wasted no time scoring on this night, getting on the board first on a basket by Jonah Miller, who led the Bears with 12 points. Graham answered, forcing turnovers and taking the ball to the basket, led by Tony Hood with eight of his 12 points, including a pair of 3s. Graham built a 19-4 edge, but the lead was whittled to 19-10 going into the second period.
“We are trying to work our way through some shooting woes,” Carlock said. “We haven’t been shooting the ball extremely well. That is no secret, that is why we are trying to attack more.”
Especially Workman, who took control prior to the break, repeatedly taking the ball to the basket, scoring nine second period points to help the G-Men build a 39-23 halftime lead.
“That is Roman’s game, Roman is a high energy guy for us, he does a great job of putting the ball on the floor on one or two bounces and trying to get to the rack,” Carlock said. “He does a fairly decent job of powering up and scoring close in and drawing some 3-point plays sometimes.”
Graham kept the pressure on after the break, building the lead to 53-32 before the Bears began working their way back.
“My kids fought hard, especially in the second half,” Hankins said. “I was really pleased with the defensive intensity coming out of halftime. That kind of gave us a little confidence and gave us a little momentum. I think we proved to ourselves, if not to anybody else, that we are capable of going out and competing.”
Two baskets by Zach Gwyn, who had 11 points for Bears, helped narrow the margin to 55-40 going into the final quarter, and Miller took over early in the fourth, scoring eight points, including a basket off an assist by Tyler White to pull within 59-48 with 3:46 to go.
“Jonah gave us a tremendous effort, got several key offensive rebounds and stickbacks and got us some 3-point plays, which gave us a little bit of a lift,” Hankins said.
Bland County leading scorer Mason Christian was held to four points, but Miller and Gywn reached double figures, and Jonathan Goins and Tyler Faulkner added seven points each.
“If we are going to gain a little bit of momentum going down the stretch, that is how we have to play,” Hankins said. “Everybody has to come in and contribute, just bits and pieces here and bits and pieces there and hopefully we can scratch out a couple of W’s.”
There was an opportunity to pull within single digits, but Faulkner missed a contested breakaway layup, and the G-Men went on a 8-1 run to end the game.
“We missed so many opportunities defensively to close into that gap,” Hankins said. “We are getting better, but we are not there yet. Those kids fought hard and you have to give Graham a lot of credit for coming in and sticking to the game plan and really making some plays down the stretch.”
Graham, which will host Richlands on Monday, also received 13 points by Colby Hill, 12 points, four steals and three rebounds from Thomas Clarke and seven points, three steals and two blocked shots by Nick Morgan.
Look for the G-Men to keep working on find their shooting stroke. Hill will be recognized for scoring his 1,000th point prior to the game with the Blue Tornado.
“The shooting will come, we were talking to Coach Hankins there after the game, all good teams goes through slumps,” Carlock said.
“The mark of a good team is going through the slumps and piecing things together. We will work our way out of it, a lot hinges on shooting the basketball, we have not been shooting the ball extremely well over the last three or four ball games so we are trying to attack through different options now.”
Bland County, which benefits from playing in the cozy confines of its small gymnasium, will be on the road three straight nights next week, beginning Monday at Grayson County.
“It is nice to have a little home-court advantage when we play against these bigger schools,” said Hankins, with a smile. “I was pleased with our fan support and hopefully they are going to follow us down the stretch run here anyway.”
at Bland High School
Tony Hood 5 0-1 12, Roman Workman 9 3-3 21, Thomas Clarke 6 0-1 12, Colby Hill 5 2-2 13, Tanner Miller 1 0-0 2, Nick Morgan 3 0-0 7, Jacob Simpson 0 0-0 0, Nick Shoemaker 0 0-0 0, Ben Meade 0 0-0 0, Chris Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 5-7 67.
BLAND COUNTY (3-11)
Mason Christian 1 2-2 4, Jonathan Goins 2 2-2 7, Jonah Miller 4 4-6 12, Kalub Lambert 0 1-2 1, Zach Gwyn 4 0-0 11, Tyler White 1 0-0 3, Tyler Faulkner 3 0-0 7, Austin Emerson 2 0-0 4. Totals 17 9-12 49.
Graham...........................19 20 16 12 — 67
Bland County...................10 13 17 9 — 49
3-point goals — GR 4 (Hood 1, Hill 1, Morgan 1); BC 6 (Gwyn 3, Goins 1, Wihte 1, Faulkner 1). Total fouls: GR 10; BC 12. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none. JV — Graham won.