ST. PARIS – Graham began pressuring winless Xenia Christian early Tuesday and forced the Ambassadors into several turnovers, eventually pulling away for a 63-53 victory in non-league boys basketball.
The Falcons led 13-8 after a quarter and 30-20 at halftime after some excellent hustle in the opening periods.
Graham’s substitutions often resemble a hockey team changing lines, with three or more players rotating into the game regularly.
“We play a lot of people. You have some guys that would normally play more minutes on the bench,” GHS Coach Mike Smart said. “But it keeps everybody involved. That’s the advantage. There are disadvantages, and we’ve had to work through them.”
Cameron Wylie led Graham with 19 points, including going 6-of-6 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Andrew Ford added 17 points.
“Crunch time has been a little disappointing. Early on we missed free throws, then the last three minutes we hit them,” Smart said. “That was nice, to win it at the line.”
The win gives a bit of validity to Graham’s attacking, chaotic defense, showing it can be truly effective when applied properly.
“I don’t want any team to challenge us (in effort),” Smart said. “At least we go at it. Whether we have good or bad, we do hit the floor. We do work hard.”
The Falcons also won the jayvee game, 66-33. Matt Goddard had 12 points and Tyler Dunham scored 9 for GHS.
Graham (3-6) plays at West Liberty-Salem on Saturday.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.