Catasauqua Press

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Graves reaches 1,000 points in loss to NW

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

For Catasauqua standout Isaiah Graves, the 2017-2018 season should be one to remember. Unfortunately, it’s not starting off as well as he would have liked. His team has been able to mount just a .500 record, going 2-2 in the early going. Worse than that though, his Grandmother recently passed away and he’s had to chase the 1,000-point milestone with a heavy heart.

Last week, Graves put all of that aside for a fleeting moment when he reached the 1,000-point plateau early in the third quarter in a 76-73 overtime loss to Northwestern. Graves went on to finish the game with 38 points to put him at 1,020 for his career. On Monday, Graves added 25 more in a 58-41 win over Saucon Valley.

Wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the Syracuse University logo, his favorite college team, Graves was quick to deflect credit to all of the players that he’s played with during his career and point to the success of the team as the main focus for his senior season.

“It feels great,” said a subdued Graves. “I wish my Nana was here to see that. It feels great though and I appreciate all of my teammates and hard work pays off. It’s very emotional.”

Coach Eric Snyder, who has seen Graves development over his three previous seasons, would have liked to have a different schedule that might have allowed Graves to reach 1,000 points on his home court, but with four of their first five games on the road, it just wasn’t going to happen that way.

Graves came into the game needing 18 points to reach 1,000 and it looked like he was going to get that before half-time when he started with 10 quick points against the Tigers, all coming in the first eight-minutes of the game. At that point, Northwestern switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone and cooled off Graves, who had 13 points at the half.

A quick three-pointer in the third put him at 998 and then a minute later, he drained a shot to put him to 1,000.

“He started off like a house on fire and I thought he was going to get it right away,” said Snyder. “He’s been with us for four years and he works his butt off.

“He’s gone through a lot and has had some rough things, and he holds a lot in and isn’t a very talkative kid. He gets emotional at times, at certain things, but he’s not a talker and it’s like trying to pull teeth to get him to talk. He talks more when he’s screwing around and having fun, but when it gets serious, he’s all business. He’s a great kid and he’s doing the best that he can.”

Graves is disappointed that his team hasn’t come out of the gates a little faster, but he noted that he’s surrounded by talented players who aren’t afraid of hard work and believes things will turn around. While the loss to Northwestern was disappointing, they did exactly as Graves predicted they would do by going back into practice and working to turn things around.

One of the early issues for the Rough Riders has been foul shooting. Against Northwestern, Catty shot just 12-of-22 (55-percent) from the line.

“We play as a team and we tried to pull this one out, but it didn’t happen. We tried our best,” said Graves of the loss to the Tigers. “We just have to go to practice, work hard and work on the mistakes, and work on foul shooting, of course. It’s all mental toughness and we’ve just got to bounce back and forget about the past.”

You figure that things will get better for Graves as he works through his senior season with an eye toward the future. While his Grandmother wasn’t there physically, you have to believe that the qualities and love that she passed on to Isaiah have played a big part in what he’s accomplished to this point and will guide him through a bright future.

You also have to figure that she was watching all that her Grandson accomplished at Northwestern High School one week ago.