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Carroll County wins anyway

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Despite missing nine foul shots in the final minute and 23 seconds, the Cavs held off the Cougars 46-44.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– When Carroll County found itself trailing by three points with less than 90 seconds remaining in its game Monday against Patrick County, it’s a good bet the Cavaliers’ strategy wasn’t to clank a bunch of free throws.

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But hey, if it works…

The Cavaliers hit just 5-of-14 from the foul line in the final minute and 23 seconds but were still able to rally for their first victory of the year, knocking off the Cougars 46-44 for a nondistrict win.

“That’s scary, isn’t it?” mused Carroll County coach Marc Motley after his team evened its record at 1-1. “You come from behind by going 5-for-14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Bottom line is we kept fighting and battling, and kept getting ourselves to the free throw line. Every time we missed it seemed like Kayla [Goins] was somewhere in there to get a rebound, and would get fouled again, and she finally hit the ones we needed to put us ahead.”

Goins grabbed 12 rebounds in the second half alone, none bigger than the two offensive boards she collected off of missed foul shots, leading to a string of six Cavalier free throws in a span of nine seconds. Patrick County (4-2) had just finished scoring 11 unanswered points to take a 44-41 lead when, in one Carroll possession, Goins hit one of four foul shots to end a four-minute Carroll County dry spell. Patrick obliged by missing a pair of free throws on its end, and Rachel Dalton sank one of two for Carroll, cutting the margin to 44-43. Goins grabbed the missed second shot and, after Audrey Dickens missed a pair, again hauled in the second miss to put herself back on the line, this time knocking down both freebies to put Carroll in front to stay.

Goins later hit one of two for the final margin, and after two more Carroll misses at the line, the Cavaliers survived a pair of failed 3-point attempts by Patrick County to hang on to the win.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that following its 11-0 run, the Cougars were held to two points in the final 2:45. That came after a stretch in the first half in which Carroll County held Patrick County to two field goals in a span of 7:19.

“We shut them down defensively,” Motley said. “If we can hold a team of that caliber to 44 points, I’d feel pretty comfortable… Tonight I think our defense was the difference in the game. It’s not that we don’t know what to do, we’ve just been looking for that intensity. It may have something to do with us getting a little bit healthy. We’ve had so many kids injured, we may go to practice and have eight or nine kids.”

In that same vein, the win may have been a costly one for Carroll, which played the final three periods without Cydnie Cornell. The starting point guard enjoyed a terrific start, scoring eight points in the first 5:55. Her final two points came on free throws, after which she limped to the sideline, not to return. Motley said Cornell injured a knee and would be evaluated.

The Cavs responded with defense. Maleah Neely scored underneath to close the first period, and Goins completed a three-point play to start the second as Carroll embarked on an 11-4 run to the 1:21 mark of the second. Carroll led 27-24 at the half, and pushed the gap to 41-33 on a Dickens 3-pointer with 5:41 to go. Patrick answered with a pair of 3-pointers from Casey Bradshaw, and took the 44-41 lead on two Lizzy Leeper free throws with 1:35 to play.

Goins finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds to lead Carroll County. Bradshaw sank three 3-pointers and paced the Cougars with 13 points.

Patrick County 15 9 8 12––44

Carroll County 17 10 9 10––46

Patrick County (4-2)

Giles 2 1-4 5, Bowers 2 1-2 6, Bradshaw 5 0-0 13, Leeper 2 3-6 7, Triplett 0 0-2 0, Culler 2 2-2 7, Goad 2 2-2 6. Totals 15 9-18 44.

Carroll County (1-1)

Dalton 1 1-2 3, Hill 1 0-0 2, M.A. Jones 0 0-0 0, Goins 3 7-12 13, K.Goad 0 0-0 0, Neely 1 2-2 4, Cornell 3 2-2 8, Dickens 3 0-4 7, Ayers 0 0-0 0, Martin 1 3-5 5, Viars 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 15-27 46.

Three-point field goals – Patrick County 5-12 (Bradshaw 3, Bowers, Culler), Carroll County 1-10 (Dickens). Rebounds – Patrick County 31 (Leeper 9), Carroll County 42 (Goins 15). Turnovers – Patrick County 11, Carroll County 20. Steals – Patrick County 8 (Culler 3), Carroll County 8 (three with 2). Team fouls – Patrick County 20, Carroll County 17. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.

JV – Carroll County 49-21.