Through 13 games this season, the Graves County Eagles’ season can be best described as up and down.
Despite a game-high 28 points from senior guard Drew Thompson, the Eagles suffered their sixth loss of the season on Tuesday night, falling to the Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado, 70-59, at Otis Dinning Gymnasium.
“We showed great resiliency fighting back to have that 16-13 lead at the end of the first but we have to be able to put 32 minutes of basketball together,” Graves County assistant coach Matt Kimbler said. “We have breakdowns and that’s something we have to be able to fix. And it is fixable, it’s just something we have to figure out.”
The Eagles played catch up for the most of the night against the Blue Tornado as a technical foul assessed before the tip for pre-game dunking allowed Tilghman to pounce early.
From there, the Blue Tornado jumped out to a 9-0 lead as junior guard Mian Shaw poured in seven first quarter points.
Battle-tested and prepared to fight back, the Eagles worked their way back into the game quickly as Thompson and senior guard Markus Isaiah also began to heat up, combining for all 16 of the Graves County points in the first quarter.
Leading 16-13 heading into the second frame, the Eagles looked to retain momentum in a high-energy Otis Dinning environment.
Despite a seven point second quarter from Thompson, the Blue Tornado came roaring back, using a full team effort to end the half on a 13-2 run, giving them a 35-31 lead at the break.
Deja vu set in at the start of the third as Tilghman jumped out to another hot start, rattling off eight straight points in the first 90 seconds to take a commanding 43-31 lead.
From this point on, the Blue Tornado had all the momentum and energy on their side as Thompson and the Eagles tried their best to play catch up.
Trailing 54-41 entering the final frame, Graves was unable to muster any offense outside of Thompson’s deep ball, allowing the Blue Tornado to cruise to their tenth victory of the season.
Following the win, Paducah Tilghman head coach Greg Overstreet said it was nice to see his guys play a full 32 minutes on their home floor.
“It was nice to be back home, we’ve been away for a long time,” Overstreet said. “Being here and having our fans and the band, it makes a big difference. Our energy level when we’re at home is really a positive for us. I thought all of our guys played with a lot of energy and our energy on the bench was really good. We just have to keep getting better.”
Graves 16 15 10 18 59
Tilghman 13 22 19 16 70
Graves: Thompson 28, Isaiah 13, Grant 12, Waller 3, Pigg 2, Flint 1.
Field goals: 22-52. 3-pointers: 6-19 (Thompson (5) and Isaiah). Free throws: 9-13. Fouls: 17. Record: 7-6.
Tilghman: Shaw 26, Arthur 12, Fitzgerald 10, Powell 8, Ragsdale 7, Warren 7.
Field goals: 28-49. 3-pointers: 3-8 (Arthur, Ragsdale and Shaw). Free throws: 11-19. Fouls: 13. Record: 10-4.