Graham propels Piedra Vista past Shiprock
FARMINGTON – Piedra Vista’s Jarrett Graham had the best performance of his high school career Tuesday night.
The sophomore scored 40 points to lead the Panthers past Shiprock 85-74 at Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse.
“When I took my first shot, it felt pretty good, and my teammates just kept getting me the ball, and it just went on from there,” Graham said. “In warmups I was just focusing on following through. I’ve been shooting it a little flat, so I was working on following through and getting a little more arc on the ball, and it worked.”
Graham’s 40-point performance is a new school record for most points in a game, even though he missed more than five minutes in the second quarter after picking up his second foul.
“We weren’t doing anything to get him the ball — it was just coming to him through the flow of the offense. We were just trying to ride it out without killing him,” PV head coach Adam Huff said. “The guys recognized it, he did a good job of getting to open spot, and the guys probably assisted on a good amount of his buckets because they were finding him.”
The old school record was held by Ty Jaquez, who scored 39 points during the 2012-13 season.
The game featured a fast pace from start to finish.
In the opening quarter, Graham and Shiprock’s Elijah Harry scored 10 points each, and the Chieftains ended the quarter leading 21-20.
The pace remained fast in the second quarter, but the scoring slowed and the game went to halftime with the Panthers up 36-35.
After sitting out most of the second quarter, Graham picked up where he left off, draining a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the third to ignite the Panthers (5-2), who scored 36 points in the quarter.
“We came out with some fire and energy in the second half,” Huff said. “The ball was going through the hoop a lot in the first half, but we weren’t playing with as much energy. When you throw energy in there, that’s when you get on those runs.”
With less than a minute remaining in the third, Graham subbed out to get some extra rest before the fourth quarter, and the Chieftains (2-3) took advantage. Down 62-50, Shiprock scored four quick points to send the game to the fourth quarter at 62-54.
Graham remained on the bench to start the fourth, and Shiprock kept chipping away at the lead, going on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 64-63 with 6:30 remaining.
“That was a great run,” Shiprock head coach Chester Atcitty said. “We were right in the ball game, and we made some subs hoping they could bring the same energy, but they (the Panthers) turned it up a notch right after that. They made some good runs, and we didn’t have an answer for it.”
PV sent Graham back into the game, and the sophomore took control again, scoring 12 points in the quarter to help propel the Panthers to the victory.
Andre Joe led the Chieftains, scoring nine of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Both Shiprock and PV will be at the Eddie Pena Tournament in Grants this weekend.
PV will open the tournament with Gallup (5-3) while Shiprock takes on Cliff (5-1) on Thursday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for the Daily Times He can be reached at 505-564-4648.