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HILLSVILLE –– Having participated in summer ball with several Cave Spring players, introductions weren’t necessary for Carroll County’s Winston Giles when the Knights visited the Cavaliers Tuesday. Giles provided a none-too-polite ‘hello’ nonetheless, after which Gunnar Beamer wrapped up the evening by showing the Knights to the door.
Giles scored nine first-period points as Carroll County took a large early lead and Beamer’s 11 fourth-period points helped stop a Cave Spring comeback dead in its tracks as the Cavaliers took a 72-60 River Ridge District boys’ win.
Beginning with a 9-0 run to open the game, Carroll County (11-2 overall, 6-0 district) built a lead that would grow to as large as 20 points, 51-31, when Blake Dalton grabbed a defensive rebound and drove coast-to-coast for a lay-in with three minutes left in the third quarter.
But as soon as the Cavaliers had the game put away, Cave Spring began reeling it back in. Ty Albritton hit back-to-back 3-pointers to boost the Knights to an 11-2 run to the end of the third and Brody Hicks added a long ball early in the fourth. A Hicks steal set up a jumper from the wing by Adam Sledd, and suddenly the Cavaliers were back in a ballgame, up 59-51, with 3:31 still to go.
“We knew they would make a run, a well-coached team like that,” said Cavalier coach Brad Hawks. “Those guys are going to be really good. They’re all sophomores and juniors right now and they’ve got the makings to be a really good team.”
Carroll stemmed the Knights’ surge with a Cody Keith layup followed by a Duncan Reece drop step move from the high post. Beamer scored seven points in the final 2:20, starting off by piercing the Cave Spring press on the dribble and slashing straight to the bucket, followed by another driving layup to widen the lead back to 67-53 with 1:41 to go.
“That’s in whose hands we want the ball in the fourth quarter,” Hawks said of his sure-handed point guard. “He’s awfully hard to take the ball from, real solid with the ball, and lately he’s been hitting his free throws. Tonight he was 6-for-9, he was 10-for-10 in the last game, so he’s just been really solid.”
Beamer would score 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.
“That’s the old Gunnar,” said Hawks. “Coming back after the injury he wasn’t quite himself, but tonight he really was a spark.”
Giles was the spark at the onset, beginning with a layup and then a tip-in for a three-point play. He scored off a cut to the bucket to start an 8-0 Carroll run to the end of the first as the Cavaliers led 17-5 after eight minutes.
“I think the main thing there was defensive intensity in the first half, especially the first quarter,” Hawks said. “They got one shot, we got the rebound and they were done. We switched screens well, we talked on defense, the bench was up, the crowd was into it, and that made the difference.”
Carroll County hit 6-of-15 from the floor in the first quarter, holding Cave Spring to 1-for-12 shooting during that time. Taking care of the ball was a big help, too. The Cavaliers gave it away on their first touch but didn’t commit another turnover until well into the third quarter.
Carroll – which hosts Patrick Henry (10-3, 5-0) tonight for first place in the RRD – shot 53 percent from the floor (27-of-51) and 79 percent from the foul line (15-of-19). Keith finished with 13 points and nine rebounds and Connor Lundy added 10 points.
Cager Hicks and Brody Hicks led Cave Spring with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
Cave Spring............5 18 18 19––60
Carroll County......17 23 13 19––72
Cave Spring (6-7, 2-3)
Reyer 1 1-1 3, B.Hicks 4 4-4 16, Albritton 2 0-0 6, Foutz 1 3-3 5, Keister 1 0-0 2, Sledd 5 0-0 10, C.Hicks 6 9-6 18. Totals 20 14-17 60.
Carroll County (11-2, 6-0)
Shinault 1 0-0 2, Beamer 7 6-9 20, Lundy 3 2-2 10, Keith 5 3-4 13, Giles 4 1-1 9, Johnson 1 0-0 3, Dalton 3 2-2 8, Reece 3 1-1 7. Totals 27 15-19 72.
Three-point field goals – Cave Spring 6-18 (B.Hicks 4, Albritton 2), Carroll County 3-13 (Lundy 2, Johnson). Rebounds – Cave Spring 27 (C.Hicks 6), Carroll County 31 (Keith 9). Turnovers – Cave Spring 10, Carroll County 8. Team fouls – Cave Spring 19, Carroll County 14. Fouled out – Keith. Technical fouls – none.
JV – Cave Spring 53-30.