Graham's return provides experience

Dec. 2, 2010 at 6:02 a.m.

Conner Graham just couldn't catch a break.

He made the varsity squad last season at Memorial. But just six games in, his season was over.

Early in the first quarter of the championship game of the Edinburg tournament last year, he said he went up to take a pass.

"I jumped up to catch it, and I came down on my right leg and tore up my right leg and tore my ACL and MCL," he said.

The injury was one that takes six to nine months to recover.

"Within a few weeks I was having surgery and going through rehab that whole season," he said.

This season, with a new team and healed knee, Graham's experience, however little from last season, is proving invaluable for the Titans as they returned to the scene of his injury: Edinburg.

Graham is seeing his first game action after about a year on the sidelines. The path back included a lot of strength work just to be ready for games again.

"It was just getting back into shape and getting my leg strength back," Graham said. "Before, I had to wait six months before I had my surgery for my MCL to heal, and most of that was conditioning and strength and getting back into the flow of playing an actual game."

But a big part of what the Titans are adjusting to at the start is being able to handle pressure situations.

"Mostly just being able to handle close games. Our first two were a 28-point win and 56-point win," he said. "We haven't really gotten used to it yet. It's early in the season, and we just need to be able to communicate, play hard and keep the intensity through the whole game."

Victoria East has been getting more of a taste of close games of late. After surviving Corpus Christi John Paul II, the Titans rallied from a five-point deficit at halftime beating Buda Hays, 61-59.

Experience, though, is as much about staying calm as it is about getting better.

"A lot of that is when we go out of town with big crowds, being able to handle hostile environments and close games, being able to know what to run and when to run," Graham said.

"Most of it is just the environment, and being able to handle that and the pressure."



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