GRAFTON, W.Va (WBOY) – After a state tournament appearance last year, South Harrison boys’ basketball coach Thomas Sears wanted to ramp up his schedule this season.

Class AAA state qualifier Grafton was one of those additions and the Hawks visited the Bearcats to open up both teams’ 2023 schedules on Tuesday night.

In a back-and-forth battle, South Harrison controlled the majority of the first half, leading 19-16 after one and 35-30 after two while Grafton’s JT Veltri scored 18 first half points to keep the Bearcats in the fight.

He came alive even further in the third quarter though, nailing four three-pointers in eight minutes to power Grafton to a 47-41 lead going into the fourth.

In the final eight minutes, it was Corey Boulden’s turn to take over, scoring nine straight South Harrison points including a go-ahead three with five minutes to play.

While Grafton battled into the final seconds, several key buckets for Noah Burnside kept the Hawks from relinquishing the lead and four free throws from Logan Peck in the last minute sealed a 66-61 win for South Harrison.

Veltri led all scorers with 35 points while Peck topped the Hawks with 22, Boulden added 20 and Burnside chipped in 17.