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The Final Horne: Graves’ 28-point, 22-rebound performance shows why Clarksville High School’s Lady Wildcat should win Class AAA Miss Basketball award

Murfreesboro, TN – It was a performance of sheer will, desire drawn from the unmitigated gall of not wanting to let it happen again.

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.

Bashaara Graves takes the ball to the net during the game against Memphis Central
Bashaara Graves takes the ball to the net during the game against Memphis Central

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.

Because to be fair the Lady Wildcats, who all season have choked opponents with a menacing defense, pestered Memphis Central into 15 turnovers and held the Lady Warriors to shooting just 34.5 percent (19-of-45) from the floor — make no mistake CHS’s tempo hindered a very good, but not deep Memphis Central High School team — and if all goes right Graves, as the last line, is there to get the rebound. She had to fight for a few of them, but 14 times she won that battle or just two less than the 16 rebounds the Lady Warriors grabbed as a team.

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.

James D. Horne
James D. Hornehttp://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com/
James D. Horne began his writing career at the Carrollton Missouri Democrat in 1995, and was the assistant sports editor/writer for the Hammond Louisiana Daily Star for two years.  In 1998, Horne became the Missouri Basketball beat writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune. He joined The Leaf-Chronicle in Oct. 2003 as the lead prep writer and became the Austin Peay beat writer in March of 2005. During his career he won a state association sports writing award at the Daily Star and two while at the Leaf-Chronicle. Originally from Tampa, Florida, Horne earned his B.A in communications from Central Methodist University in Fayette Missouri.

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