"He's a guy that'd love to be able to play more time,'' McGinnis said, "but I can't play him because he's got one arm. But he's our captain, he's a role player, he knows he's supposed to rebound, play defense and do those things and get us a basket inside.''
Grafton, who expects to play football in college at West Virginia State, said he persists in playing because it's still enjoyable.
"I try to lead by example and get the guys up when they're down,'' he said. "Lighten the mood up on the court for them and make the game fun. It's supposed to be fun. And if you're not having fun out there, there's really no point to play.''
Home sweet Hometown?
Weather permitting, the third Hometown Invitational Tournament will wrap up with a bang this weekend as 12 games are scheduled at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center - four on Friday and eight on Saturday.
Several of the North and South Division I games were postponed by snow last week, leaving the identity of the teams battling for championships in doubt until later this week.
For instance, defending champion Buffalo still has yet to play a home game versus Richwood in the South semifinals, with that game being pushed back to 6 p.m. Wednesday. The North finals, pitting Clay-Battelle at St. Marys, was reset for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Hometown Invitational, which this year involves 24 state public schools, takes a bad rap on some message boards. Several fans think the only reason it exists is to bar the private schools around West Virginia, who have accounted for the last 11 boys Class A titles.
Buffalo coach Chuck Elkins, like some, scoffs at the HIT being billed as a public school state championship, but thinks it has plenty of merit.
"They talk about this being a state championship,'' Elkins said, "but it's not a state championship. It's a tournament. The one day of basketball at Summersville is going to be a good day - it should all be evenly matched teams.
"It gives our kids a tournament atmosphere. It gives our kids a chance to hang a banner, which is not much but, hey, we put a picture up on our wall when we won the Wirt County tournament [in December]. Now it may fall down in a couple weeks, but that's what we're playing for. The ultimate goal is to win the state tournament, but this [HIT] gives the kids something to shoot at.''
Owing to its past successes at the state tournament, Wheeling Central can't be counted out, even when it journeys through an 8-11 season like the current one.
With underclass talent like leading scorer Chase Harler (freshman) and David Park (junior), Central's downturn shouldn't be long, regardless.
The Maroon Knights also face long odds making the state tournament field out of Region 1, especially with the season teams like Magnolia, St. Marys and Clay-Battelle having been having.
However, Central has shown some flashes against a schedule chock full of triple-A sized opponents.
"We've been fairly competitive,'' said coach Mel Stephens. "We're in an awfully tough region and we're going to have to play better than we've played to be able to get to the state tournament.''
Ryan Pritt contributed to this report. Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.