ELKINS -- The scoreboard ticked under 2 minutes, and Chad Graham's Elkins Elks held a convincing lead over Waldron.
Graham was having one of those nights -- 3-pointers were falling, drives almost always resulted in points and the Colors Day crowd watched with anticipation after witnessing the senior's 19-point third quarter.
That's why, instead of laying the ball in off a deep outlet pass from Kain Johnson, Graham slammed the ball home and pulled up on the rim. The move resulted in a technical, but the electrifying guard laughed. He gave those in attendance something to remember in a 76-59 victory Friday night.
"I saw my teammate get the ball, and I was like, 'we're up. I have to keep those fans happy,'" Graham said. "I just took off running, and I saw nobody was with me. I just had to dunk it, and I knew the fans would be super happy."
Graham spearheaded the Elks' dynamic offense, scoring 29 points by himself to put away a pesky 3A conference rival that had its own elite scorer. Waldron's Payton Brown was the focus of Elkins' scouting report, and coach Jared Porter made the decision to double the Central Arkansas verbal commit every time he touched the ball. He still managed to pour in 36 before the night was over.
"He's had some really big night scoring the basketball, and we just didn't want him to come in here and go crazy, so we wanted to double him when he had it," Porter said.
The back-and-forth between Elkins (17-2) and Waldron (14-5) was to be expected from two teams that had tremendous success in nonconference play, and players' trash talking could be heard throughout the contest. Graham said his post-score celebrations, many of which resembled the three-fingers-to-the-temple move employed by NBA household names Carmelo Anthony and James Harden, gave referees more of a reason to call the technical after his dunk.
"I do it to hype myself up and sometimes to intimidate the other team," Graham said. "They'll get scared and keep backing up, so I just keep doing it."
The third-quarter outburst essentially put the game away, and included in that frame was an 8-for-10 clip from the free-throw stripe. He went 4-for-4 in the final quarter to bring his total free-throw mark to 86 percent.
"It gives me a lot of confidence knowing [my teammates] believe in me, and I had to come through for them," Graham said. "We knew the hype was behind this game."
The Elks also benefitted from double-digit scoring nights from Paxton Barnett, Johnson and Camren Dunn, who scored nine of his 11 points in the first quarter. On the other side, Brown was the only Bulldogs player to reach 10-plus points.
Elkins: Graham 29, Barnett 19, Johnson 14, Dunn 11, Holland 2, Wheeler 1.
Waldron: Brown 36, Avila 8, Dozier 6, Ford 4, Valdez 3, Villarreal 2.
Elkins 54, Waldron 39
The Elkins Lady Elks held Waldron to only 5 points in the first quarter, and they ultimately rolled to a home win.
The win was a much-needed one for Elkins (8-8), a team that had lost four consecutive games heading into Friday's matchup. Coach Monica Wells said she challenged her squad to come out and respond after the losing streak.
"We were worried about us, and we didn't really talk a lot about Waldron," Wells said. "I was focused on us, and our girls stepped up to the plate."
The Lady Elks' gameplan was to work inside out, and senior Allison Coleman adapted well to that scheme by scoring 13 points to lead the team.
"If you've got a threat on the inside, it makes things around the outside a lot better, or a lot easier, so that's what we were trying to do," Wells said.
After building a significant lead in the first half, the team made it a point to lock down defensively and force turnovers with a press. The Lady Elks continued to press throughout the game, forcing turnovers well into the fourth quarter and capitalizing in the victory.
Elkins: Coleman 13, Jackson 8, Hollingsworth 7, Krodell 7, Ritchie 6, Brink 5, Burton 3, Hughes 3, Philip 2.
Waldron: Slater 15, Burdess 13, Callahan 7, Stidman 4.
Sports on 01/12/2019
Print Headline: PREP BASKETBALL Graham, Elkins slam Waldron