McGraw varsity boys basketball uses late game surge to defeat Dryden

McGraw junior Caleb Smith shoots a free throw.

Last night, the McGraw varsity boys basketball team defeated Dryden 57-53 in the final stretch to win third place at this year’s Cortland Holiday Tournament. 

At the start of the game, the McGraw Eagles were able to move the ball around and explode offensively, as they would end the opening quarter with a 14-point lead (24-10). 

However, coming into the second quarter of the game, Dryden hung in there and outsourced the Eagles (2-13) to cut McGraw’s lead to three.  

“We wanted to push the ball in transition,” said McGraw Head Coach Derek Allen. “It worked well in the first quarter and the middle part of the fourth quarter. I think that we had more team speed than them. But Dryden hung tough and didn’t go away. They made some big shots and we turned the ball over in the second and third quarter and allowed Dryden to get back into the game.”

Going into the third quarter, neither team was able to get an edge over the other.   

“Just before that final quarter, I told the guys that ‘we have eight minutes and all we have to do is beat them by three points. It doesn't need to be pretty. It doesn't need to be perfect. We just have to fight harder’” said Coach Allen.“They then responded and did a good job. I wish we could’ve closed it out even stronger and kept that run going, but Dryden hung tough and made a few shots in the end to keep it close.” 

The Eagles were then able to get a seven point lead with about four minutes left in the game, after junior guard Dominik Cook sank a wide-open three pointers.

Cook ended the game with a total of nine-points, with all of them coming off from behind the arc. 

Dryden would then manage to keep it close down the stretch, but were not able to overcome the deficit.

“We knew that we needed to pick it up,” said McGraw junior Caleb Smith. “We knew what we were able to do to them in the first quarter.”

Smith led the Eagles with another double-double, as he ended the game with 25-points to go along with his 15 rebounds. At the end of the tournament, Smith was also one of the players named into the team of the tournament. 

“The team definitely helped with everything,” said Smith. “I wouldn't have been able to get anything done without the team.”

Here are some more photos of last night's game: