GRAFTON, W.Va. – The Grafton boys basketball team surprised the Big 10 Conference as well as Class-AAA last season.
The Bearcats head coach Mike Johnson said his team flew under the radar up until they started competing in tough games and showed what caliber of team they are.
Grafton fell to Fairmont Senior in the sectional final then to Robert C. Byrd in the regional, therefore missing the state tournament. But the Bearcats had a great showing in both games until the buzzer.
Grafton is 2-1 on the season so far and Johnson said the goal isn’t to win every game, it’s to take it one game at a time on the road to the state tournament.
“Our goal coming into the season was not to be undefeated, our goal was to be playing meaningful basketball come March. That hasn’t changed. We knew there were going to be bumps in the road and some adversity along the way and we’ll see how we handle that adversity,” Johnson said.
Johnson and the Bearcats know what they’re capable of and they want their last game of the season to be in Charleston.
“I think that anything short of a trip to Charleston is probably underachieving in our minds. Not only from the staff, but from our players as well. We just take it on a day by day basis and know that we’ve got to continue to get better every day and take each new challenge as it comes with and look to push through it,” Johnson said.
First team All-State returning senior guard Ryan Maier understands the misson- make it to Charleston. But he understands not every game along the way will end with a W.
“Our goal is not to win every game. Our goal is to go to the state tournament and make a big run. Whenever we play our best basketball we’re always running the floor, tight defense and shoot the ball great,” Maier said.
So Maier and the Bearcats are definitely under the radar no longer, but rather very much on it as they look to make some noise in the class this season.