Cavaliers pull away from Fort

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In a battle for most of the game, Carroll County blew it open down the stretch to win by 18.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

MAX MEADOWS –– Carroll County got all it could handle from Fort Chiswell for the better part of three quarters Friday night, but turned a nailbiter into a cakewalk in the final 10 minutes, zooming away for a 64-46 win in the second round of the First Bank of Virginia Classic on the Pioneers’ home floor.


The Cavaliers remained undefeated at 8-0 and were scheduled to meet Radford in the championship game of the eight-team event on Saturday. The Pioneers (2-3) played Floyd County in Saturday’s third-place game.

Carroll County led by three points with about two minutes to go in the third quarter before clamping down defensively and hitting its free throws. Daniel Hamm’s driving layup had the Pioneers down just 43-40 at the 2:20 mark of the third but Fort Chiswell would manage just six points the rest of the game.

The Cavaliers scored the final eight points of the third quarter, and though Carroll hit just two field goals in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers were 9-of-13 from the free throw line.

Duncan Reece’s inside basket with 2:07 on the clock started the Carroll run to close the third. Following a Pioneer turnover, Chris Smoot cut in from the back side and converted a nice feed from Connor Lundy. Gunner Beamer swiped the inbounds pass and sank two foul shots, then closed the third with a layup off of a Lundy steal, and what had been a three-point game was suddenly an 11-point Carroll lead after three, 51-40.

Fort Chiswell was briefly within single digits as Chase Rathbone hit a jumper from the foul line to start the fourth quarter, but Carroll County would outscore the Pioneers 13-2 over the next four-plus minutes. Reece, pinned in the corner by two Pioneers, threaded a pass to Smoot under the bucket, and Smoot completed the three-point play to widen the gap back to 12 points, 54-42.

The Cavaliers backed it down offensively, and Ryan Gravley canned six straight free throws as Carroll iced the game at the line.

Carroll County held Fort Chiswell to 3-of-12 shooting and 11 turnovers in the game’s final 10 minutes while hitting five of their seven attempts from the floor and 11-of-15 from the foul line.

Carroll was poised to run away with it midway through the first half. The Cavs led 16-11 early in the second quarter when Smoot swished a 3-pointer from the left wing, stole the inbounds pass and fed Lundy for a layup for a 21-11 lead.

Fort Chiswell answered with seven straight points, including a Jared Hovencamp trey, but Lundy and Gravley connected from long range on consecutive Cavalier possessions to widen the gap to nine, 29-20.

Fort Chiswell briefly took the lead in the third quarter with a 14-4 run that started with the Pioneers scoring the final five points of the first half. Levi Mooney’s layup off of Dylan Halen’s steal had Fort up 34-33, but the lead lasted only as long as the ensuing Cavalier possession and two Gravley foul shots put Carroll County back on top to stay.

Gravley, Beamer and Smoot led the Cavaliers offensively with 15, 14 and 12 points, respectively. Hamm and Thomas each scored 10 points to pace the Pioneers.


Carroll County......16  13  22  13––64

Fort Chiswell..........9  16  15    6––46


Carroll County (8-0)

Gravley 3 8-8 15, Smoot 5 1-1 12, Beamer 4 5-6 14, Lundy 3 0-1 8, Keith 3 0-2 6, Reece 1 2-2 4, Horton 1 1-2 3, Holder 1 0-2 2. Totals 21 17-24 64.

Fort Chiswell (2-3)

Mooney 2 1-2 6, Mabry 1 0-0 2, Hovencamp 2 0-0 6, Rathbone 1 0-0 2, Hamm 5 0-0 10, Stoneman 1 0-0 2, Perry 2 0-0 4, Halen 1 0-0 2, Widelo 1 0-0 2, Thomas 5 0-1 10. Totals 21 1-3 46.


Three-point field goals – Carroll County 5-13 (Lundy 2, Gravley, Beamer, Smoot), Fort Chiswell 3-11 (Hovencamp 2, Mooney). Rebounds – Carroll County 26 (Horton, Gravley 6), Fort Chiswell 33 (Thomas 9). Turnovers – Carroll County 16, Fort Chiswell 21. Team fouls – Carroll County 10, Fort Chiswell 16. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.