SHEPHERDSTOWN — Garrett Grantham hadn’t been playing very much in his first year at West Virginia Wesleyan of the WVIAC. The reserve freshman guard would come off Coach Patrick Beilein’s bench for four minutes, miss a three-pointer, be called for a foul and then watch the rest of the time from his sideline perch.
Some games he didn’t play at all. If he received 12 minutes of court time, that was all he could hope for. Grantham had started once in the Bobcats’ first 24 games of a season that had also been dulled by an 11-13 overall record and 8-12 WVIAC mark.
When the Bobcats came to Shepherd last Thursday evening, Grantham was once again assigned to a chair on the sidelines when the game began.
He was summoned to enter the fast-paced game with 14:13 left in the opening half. In his nine minutes in the first half, he did well enough as a ballhandler against the continuous Shepherd fullcourt pressure, but committed two fouls and scored only two points.
The game was tied at 44-44 at the half.
Soon after play resumed in the last half, Grantham was called on by Beilein with fully 18:36 remaining.
His immediate turnover was erased when a three-pointer found the mark.
Grantham was instantly headed in the right direction.
With his friends and relatives (including grandfather Bob Starkey, the Shepherd coach for 20 seasons and Grantham’s high school coach for four years) looking on from the stands, he was Wesleyan’s brightest light in a second half that saw the Bobcats unable to successfully defend the Rams’ Chad Moore, Brantley Osborne, and Sidney McCray.
The 5-foot-11 guard made all but one of his second-half shots, finishing the Wesleyan loss with 15 points on 6-for-8 from the floor.
Grantham’s point total was his best showing of the season. His minutes played were also his most of the year.
Grantham not only graduated from Jefferson but he also lives in Shepherdstown. Whenever a Starkey-coached Jefferson High team was playing a neutral-site game at Shepherd’s Butcher Center and Grantham was in middle school, he would take to the court during a break and fire away at the baskets.
His productive performance against the Rams came at the perfect time . . . proving despite what noted novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can go home again . . . and score 15 points in 28 minutes before a group of relatives and friends.