Prep Newsmaker: Graham becoming a lethal scorer
Sophomore's 40-point game is a new school record
FARMINGTON — During a Dec. 15 game against Shiprock, sophomore Jarrett Graham broke the all-time record at Piedra Vista High School for points scored in a single game when he dropped 40 on the Chieftains.
Graham, a shooting guard/small forward, was simply in the zone that night.
"He was hot," Piedra Vista head coach Adam Huff said. "I didn't say anything specifically about it. The guys just kind of recognized it and made an effort to put the ball in his hands. The team did a good job of running the offense, attacking, and he did a good job of finding open spots."
After scoring 10 points in the opening quarter, Graham scored only two in the second, limited by foul trouble. He then exploded for 15 in the third and closed the game out with 13 in the fourth.
Graham had everything working, from his outside shot to his transition game. He sank 7 three-pointers in the record-setting performance, which topped Ty Jaquez's 39-point game from 2013.
Amazingly, he only attempted one free throw, which he made.
"Everything just kept going my way," Graham said. "All my rebounds, everything. It was crazy how it just kept on flowing."
With excellent jumping ability to go along with a 6-foot-2, 180 pound-frame, Graham is one of the most athletic players in District 1-5A. Huff said he did a good job of getting up and collecting rebounds in the Shiprock game and turning his success on the boards into points on the other end.
"He had seven offensive boards, which I think he turned five of those into points," Huff said. "He's a hard worker and he's really just a kid that wants to go get it. The offensive rebounds is a huge thing. I think it's just a mindset of 'I want to go get those and I want to turn those into points, because that's going to help my team win.'"
Before the game in a shoot-around, Graham said he worked extensively on following through on the release of his jump shot. He's not afraid to fire the ball up from deep, and games like the Shiprock game prove he's capable of getting white hot, but inconsistency on his follow through has plagued him at times.
"It's always been something I've struggled with," Graham said. "My coaches were talking to me about how I need to follow through with my shot more. So I was really trying to over-emphasize it in warm-ups."
The Panthers spent last weekend in Grants, competing in the Eddie Peña Tournament. PV lost on the first day to Gallup before winning on Friday and Saturday to claim third place. Graham scored in double figures in all three games on his way to all-tournament team honors.
Graham said his follow through came and went in those games and is still a work in progress, but he's getting there. He did feel like PV clicked as a team midway through the tournament.
"Individually, shooting-wise, I felt pretty good. Then about halfway through (the tournament) I realized I needed to stop taking so many threes and just get inside," he said. "As a team, we figured out against Thoreau that if we just ran more we'd have the advantage. That's our bread and butter."
After thumping Thoreau 78-22 on Friday, PV made a conscious effort to run the floor offensively as much as possible against Cliff. The result was a 47-35 victory.
Graham scored 12 points in that game to secure his spot on the all-tourney team, where he was accompanied by teammate Keegan Acosta, who led the Panthers in scoring on the final two days of the tourney.
Huff said Acosta, a senior, and Graham, have fed off each other in the early part of this season as PV's go-to scorers.
"Keegan's one that can get up and throw it down and Jarrett's getting close to that," Huff said. "They really do a good job of playing to each other's strengths. Both want to go get the ball, both are good shooters and both wanna win. They play off each other really well."
With still over two and a half years of varsity basketball ahead of him, Graham is just scratching the surface of his potential. He said he's already learned so much since his freshman year.
"I'm more in control than I was. I've learned not to go crazy whenever I have the ball," Graham said. "Now I just let everything come to me and let the game flow to me."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
A closer look: Jarrett Graham
1. Favorite team?
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite movie?
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
7. Biggest fear?
"A career-ending injury."
8. Do you play any other sports?
9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
10. Do you have any pregame rituals?
"I usually go and eat with my teammates."