GRAFTON, W.Va – The Grafton Bearcats boys basketball team completed a spectacular run to the state tournament a year ago, taking down Elkins for a regional championship before falling to Wheeling Central Catholic on the big stage in Charleston.

Gone is 1,000 point scorer Ryan Maier, number-two scorer Justin Spiker and do-it-all man Kaden Delaney. Now, the bearcats are looking to bring some new faces into the fold and push to make a return to the state tournament.

“For us, the three week period is a little bit different than it has been the last couple of years because the last few years we returned quite a bit of our roster, varsity roster that is,” head coach Michael Johnson said, “This year we’ve had a little bit of turnover from graduation so for us this three week period is all about gaining some experience.”

Grafton returns a trio of seniors in JT Veltri, Cole Mooney and Garrett Hutson while junior Jacob Maier is keen to step into a much larger role in the backcourt to replace Spiker and Ryan Maier.

The Bearcats have certainly had plenty of opportunities for that experience Johnson is looking for his squad to get, competing at the Lincoln and Robert C. Byrd shootouts through the first two weeks of summer practices.