Spirited rally on festive night not enough for Grafton boys in hard-fought loss to Bulldogs
The stage was set for an upset win at Grafton High School last Friday.
Playing their final regular-season home game before a large, enthusiastic crowd on a night honoring title teams from the 1960s, the host Black Hawks were poised to knock off longtime rival Cedarburg in a North Shore Conference boys’ basketball game.
Although Grafton fell short in a 64-57 loss, it wasn’t for lack of effort or desire.
After trailing by many as 15 points in the first half, the Hawks mounted a spirited rally. Justin Peters’ three-point basket tied the game at 53-53 with just over six minutes left.
With the home crowd roaring its approval, Grafton had a chance to take the lead seconds later. However, another three-point shot rimmed off, and Cedarburg responded with a rally of its own.
A 7-2 run put the Bulldogs ahead, 60-55, with two minutes left, and Grafton was unable to close the gap again.
After the Hawks turned the ball over facing a 60-57 deficit, Jordan Johnson hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to seal Cedarburg’s win.
“We had our chances,” Grafton coach Bob Maronde said. “We went through a six-minute period in the first half where we didn’t score.
“But we kept running our offense and starting hitting some shots. The effort was there, and I was very pleased with that.”
As they have throughout the season, Johnson and John Diener carried much of the offensive load for the Bulldogs.
Diener, a sophomore guard, scored a game-high 26 points, including four of his team’s nine three-point baskets. Johnson added 19 points, including a trio of threes.
Cedarburg, which improved its second-place NSC record to 10-3, controlled much of the first half with its up-tempo offense. The Bulldogs’ lead reach 31-16 on a three-point play by Matt Barber with 5:13 left.
However, Grafton answered with 10-4 run to pull within 35-26 at the break.