Cavaliers survive Marion scare

-A A +A

Carroll County saw a 14-point lead dwindle to just three in the final minute before holding on.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– Defeating a team three times in a season is plenty difficult. To beat a team twice in a single night is no easy task, either.


Carroll County seemingly put Marion away with a big third-quarter run but had to win the game again in the final seconds, finally subduing the Scarlet Hurricane 65-60 in a Southwest District tournament quarterfinal game Tuesday night.

The second-seeded Cavaliers (15-8) advanced to Thursday’s semifinals at Abingdon where they will face No. 3 Richlands, a 70-68 winner Tuesday over Grundy. Marion’s season ends at 9-13.

If there were any doubt beforehand, the victory should also seal Carroll County into the Region IV Division 4 playoffs, which start next week. The Cavaliers will be playing for position the rest of the tournament.

Carroll County’s win came  against a team it had defeated by 42 and 14 points during the regular season.

“It was a lot like the Galax game,” Carroll County coach Brad Hawks said of the Cavaliers’ final regular season game, a 33-point loss. “We just didn’t play with any emotion.”

Carroll County led 63-58 on two Wes Smoot foul shots with 26 seconds to play, but Marion’s Branson Bowman scored on the inside, and the Hurricanes forced a 5-second violation on the inbounds play, getting the ball back and trailing by just three. But a traveling violation on Marion guard Terance Cox with 8.1 ticks left all but ended the Hurricanes’ chances. Ryan Gravley sank two foul shots with 7.1 seconds left to seal the win.

Carroll County appeared to have things well in control after a 14-0 run gave the Cavs a 48-34 lead at the two-minute mark of the third. Connor Lundy swished a 3-pointer to spark the run, Mac Martin converted a Gravley feed for a three-point play, and Gravley fed Martin on two more transition layups to cap the run at 1:20 of the third.

Carroll County didn’t score again until a minute and a half into the fourth, during which time Marion strung together its own 12-0 flurry. Austin Klug had two fast-break layups and Bowman cut the lead to 48-46 with a jumper from the wing with 6:50 to play.

Smoot ended the run with a baseline move and foul shot for a 51-46 lead.

Gravley was limited to five points but served up 14 assists.

“They had a real good game plan for Ryan and Connor,” Hawks said. “They really keyed on Ryan.”

Smoot and Martin came up big in the fourth after sitting out early with foul trouble. Austin Horton took up the slack, scoring 10 of Carroll County’s first 12 points on an array of drives and midrange jumpshots. He finished with 16 points, as did Lundy, who hit four 3-pointers. Smoot added 14 points.

“We wanted to go to Austin and Wes, but Wes and Mac got into foul trouble early,” Hawks said. “Austin really stepped up for us.”

Ethan Richardson paced Marion with 18 points while Bowman had 17 points and 17 rebounds.


Marion...................12  16  10  22––60

Carroll County......15  15  18  17––65


Marion (9-13)

Cox 1 0-0 2, Wagner 3 0-0 6, Klug 5 0-0 10, Richardson 6 2-5 18, Crook 3 0-0 7, Bowman 8 0-0 17. Totals 26 2-5 60.

Carroll County (15-8)

Gravley 1 2-3 5, Taylor 1 0-0 2, Lundy 5 2-4 16, Martin 3 1-1 7, Lineberry 0 1-2 1, W.Smoot 5 4-5 14, Alley 1 0-0 2, Horton 8 0-1 16, Snow 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 10-16 65.


Three-point field goals – Marion 6-20 (Richardson 4, Crook, Bowman), Carroll County 5-14 (Lundy 4, Gravley). Rebounds – Marion 45 (Bowman 17), Carroll County 34 (Horton 6). Turnovers – Marion 19, Carroll County 12. Team fouls – Marion 14, Carroll County 13. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – none.