That all combined into Bashaara Graves’ and the 28 points and 22 rebounds, including a record-tying 14 defensive rebounds, she overpoweringly produced in Clarksville High’s 64-48 victory over defending champion Memphis Central in their Class AAA State Tournament quarterfinal game Thursday in the Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.
Graves’ 14 defensive rebounds tied the mark Jackson County High School’s Andrea Davidson’s record set in 2002 against McMinn Central High School.
It also sets up Clarksville High for its game today against Science Hill High School at 2:30pm in a game of twin 37-0 teams, which in itself is a remarkable feat and worth a post of its own. The winner goes to the state championship game Saturday at 4:00pm in the Murphy Center.
But had it not been for Graves the Lady Wildcats would have suffered the fate that befell them the last two times they made it to the state tournament, a stunning loss in their first game.
It’s not that they play badly, they did have 20 turnovers, but those came against the flat-out quickest team they’ve seen all season and a program responsible for Clarksville High’s exit from the 2010 tournament.
No, what plagued the Lady was the ‘Scourge of the Missed Bunny’, or in other words, they uncharacteristically missed a lot of point-blank shots and lay ups. Hey, it happens.
But that’s where Graves stepped in, because on eight of those misses she got the ball back for her team and helped them score. But that’s what teammates do, they pick each other up.
But having 6-foot-2 center, who can move like a guard and shoot like a small forward if she had too, is such a nice luxury to have and Thursday night the Class AAA Miss Basketball candidate showed why she should win that award in a run away.
And there’s no doubt Pat Summitt is just sitting back and smiling wide knowing Graves takes residence in Knoxville in just a few months.
Of course, this performance and the Lady Wildcats’ wonderful year goes for naught if Clarksville High doesn’t win the State Championship and I for one like stories that end with happy endings.