- Last Updated: 4:08 AM, February 23, 2012
- Posted: 4:06 AM, February 23, 2012
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
It wasn’t Daniel Dingle or Kerwin Okoro, St. Raymond’s impressive Division I swingmen. It wasn’t even electric Shane Rector, who lists a bevy of high majors vying for his services.
No, Tuesday night, late in the game, it was all about Larry Graves, the Ravens’ gritty senior who has just Division II offers on the table.
““They had no answer on their end,” St. Ray’s coach Oliver Antigua said.
They was Cardinal Hayes, the top-seeded team that No. 4 St. Raymond knocked off in the CHSAA Archdiocesan semifinals. Graves went off for 19 of his 21 points in one of the best fourth quarters you’ll ever see.
“He was on fire,” Rector said. “He saved the game for us.”
With Hayes up 60-59, Graves went to work. The 6-foot senior, who holds offers from Bloomfield, Adelphi and Mercy, popped a 3-pointer to give St. Ray’s the lead. Jalen Jenkins responded with a basket, so Graves drained another trey. Then he was fouled shooting from beyond the arc and made all three free throws.
After he scored nine-straight points, the Ravens led 66-61 with 3:15 left and they wouldn’t trail again.
“It was my teammates getting me the ball in the right spots,” Graves said modestly.
In the third quarter, he was struggling. He missed a second 3-point attempt and looked at Antigua. The coach told him not to look his way.
“He mouthed to me, ‘Just keep shooting,’” Graves said.
Good thing he did. Graves’ impressive performance follows up another big one last Thursday against Boys & Girls, a 22-point effort that helped give St. Ray’s – and undoubtedly himself – confidence heading into the postseason. Graves said that the Hayes game Tuesday night was probably his best performance of the season.
“Considering the situation?” he said with a smile. “Yes.”
Antigua said he’s been making calls to Division I schools for Graves. He has little doubt that his best shooter and hard-nosed senior could compete on that level. If Graves keeps this up, he might get that opportunity.
After the game Tuesday night, Antigua pulled Graves aside.
“You were big time,” the coach told him.
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