Survival mode
Graham (57) Vs. Union (54)
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. — Back in November, Union ended Roman Workman’s football season.
Tuesday night at Graham Middle School, the G-Man star guard did his part to bring the Bears’ basketball campaign to a screeching halt.
Workman banked in a 3-pointer at the top of the arc with 1:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, getting the G-Men’s feet in the door for a 57-54 victory over Union in the 2A West boys basketball quarterfinals.
The win guaranteed a 2A Elite Eight berth for the G-Men (18-3), who’ll play 2A West tournament games on Friday and Saturday at Virginia-Wise to determine state bracket seeding.
The victory also concluded a Graham sweep of every home game this season.
“That was a quiet goal of ours ... to not lose a single game in this gym,” said G-Men head coach Glynn Carlock, Jr., whose squad will face Dan River at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Prior Center in Wise.
“That’s why we played so hard during the regular season to get that game in this gym. We play well in front of our home crowd and our students are the sixth man. They did everything we needed them to do spur us to victory,” he said.
The added motivation was good to have. When facing a squad as big, strong and physical as Union, said Carlock, the G-Men had only two choices.
“You be physical, you get big and you play strong, or you inventory the stuff tomorrow,” he said. “We’ve got some ball left in these guys.”
Workman, whose clutch trey put Graham ahead 53-51, said his team owed the home fans a better outcome than they saw in Saturday’s loss to Richlands in the SEC tournament finals.
“Nobody wanted us to lose (to Richlands). That game motivated us more than anything to come out here and to show our fans how we can play,” said Workman, who was the primary defensive assignment of 6-foot-4 Union sophomore phenom James Mitchell.
The first half was fairly tough sledding for Workman, but he went on to score 13 of his 15 game-total points in the second half.
“Roman is one of our toughest player, too, and I’ll take my tough player over anybody else’s tough player any day of the week,” said Carlock.
After a tight first half that saw the score knotted up five times, the Bears (20-6) took a great leap forward with a pair of 3-pointers by Wes Slagle. The G-Men tied it up at 24 on a trey by Thomas Clarke with 18 seconds remaining in the half.
Union took a 27-24 halftime lead after Mitchell kicked the ball out to Slagle for a buzzer-beating trifecta.
Slagle, who finished with 12 points on the night, gave Union a 36-26 lead with his fourth and final 3-pointer at 6:01 in the third period. The G-Men answered with a 10-0 run, getting key buckets from Workman and Chandler Cooper and tying it up at 36 on Nick Morgan’s 3-pointer with 2:26 remaining in the game.
An inside bucket from Jake Barnette with 28.2 seconds remaining in the third period got the Bears back up 44-38. Cooper pulled it down to a possession over the final 18 seconds, his buzzer-beating transition lay up making it 44-42 headed into the final stanza.
The lead changed hands twice before Workman’s fateful bank shot put the G-Men out front for good with 1:58 remaining to play.
“Coach had confidence in me and I took the shot. It was a great bounce. I was feeling it and banked it in,” said Workman, who ignored Union fans’ repeated taunts with regard to his having been ejected toward the end of his season-ending football game at Bullitt Park.
“I’ve been in enough big games that I know you’ve got to keep the fans out and just keep playing your game,” he said.
Graham clung to a 3-point lead while defensively scrubbing three successive Union possessions. A pair of Mitchell free throws with 9.6 seconds pulled the Bears to within one. After the requisite timeout, Clarke appeared to get tangled up in Union’s fullcourt press but extricated himself with a midcourt pass to Morgan for the easy layup with 1.6 seconds remaining.
That was just enough time for a three-quarter court desperation trey attempt by Mitchell. The low percentages prevailed. It was over.
“Their team is a good pressing team and they just pressed my man Thomas. He looked up the floor and saw me and we made a great play,” said Morgan, who finished with 12 points. “They’re a great team with a great coach. But we just had a great plan for them. Coach Carlock had us prepared for the game.”
Barnette finished with 13 points for Union. Mitchell finished with 12.
Union head coach Zack Moore could find no fault with Mitchell’s defensive performance versus Workman.
“He did a good job on him. Even the shots that he hit were tough. That banked 3 and a couple of other shots he made he really had to work for,” said Moore. “I knew it was going to be a tough game but our guys are pretty mentally tough, I thought.
“We had a chance to win ... we were in position to win, I’ll say that. We just came up short. Give them credit. They played well,” Moore said.

At Graham Middle School
UNION (20-6)
Jay Gavin 0 1-2 1, Bryce Spears 1 2-2 5, Wes Slagle 4 0-0 12, Hayden Sharitt 1 0-0 3, Justin Booker 0 0-0 0, Jake Barnette 4 5-10 13, James Mitchell 5 2-2 12, Raashaun Noaks 2 4-8 8. Totals 17 14-24 54.
GRAHAM (18-3)
Chandler Cooper 2 5-5 9, Nick Morgan 4 2-2 12, Roman Workman 7 0-0 15, Thomas Clarke 2 1-2 6, Emil Curto 0 0-0 0, Cameron Allen 0 2-4 2, Tanner Miller 1 0-0 2, Garrett Dalton 4 1-2 9. Totals 20 13
-17 57.
Union...........................9 18 17 10 — 54
Graham......................11 13 18 15 — 57
3-point goals: Union 6 (Spears, Slagle 4, Garrett),
Game Scoreboard
Graham 11 13 18 15 0 57
Union 9 18 17 10 0 54
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