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HILLSVILLE –– With Grayson County comprising one-third of Carroll County’s nine-game schedule thus far, the Cavaliers are probably ready to see a fresh face across the court for a change. With three losses to Carroll County in Grayson's last five games, the Blue Devils are probably downright sick of the Cavaliers.
The third meeting in the last 19 days between the two schools produced the same result as the first two as the Cavaliers swept the season series with a 68-51 win in a nondistrict game Wednesday night.
“Both teams looked like they hadn’t practiced in a while,” Carroll County coach Brad Hawks said. “We hadn’t practiced since last Monday and [Grayson coach] Lucas [Austin] was the same way. We played in the Christmas tournament and gave them the weekend off, and then it snowed. We just looked really sloppy. Grayson came out and got the ball to who they needed to. They’ve got some shooters and they’ve got some kids who can play.”
Though the Blue Devils (6-4) never got close enough to take the lead after a late first-quarter run by the Cavaliers, Carroll County (8-1) was forced to fend off several Grayson County pushes. The Cavaliers successfully dealt with each Blue Devil thrust.
The lack of practice has been especially hard on Grayson, trying to find the right combination after losing Mikey Rodgers for six weeks with a broken wrist suffered over the holidays.
“It’s no secret, we lost Mikey, who’s one of our key players,” said Austin, “and to be honest we’ve practiced one time without him. Snow days, Code Red or whatever, they won’t let you practice. I don’t know what the deal is. But anyway, we’ll get better as time goes on and we get some practice. But Carroll’s a tough team.”
The most serious Grayson County threat came late in the third period. Down by as many as 12 points early in the second half, the Blue Devils put together a 12-4 rally and pulled to within four points, 37-33 on Adam Wyatt’s 3-pointer at the 1:57 mark of the third. Max Rodgers scored twice to open the spurt and Austin Bedsaul canned a pull-up jumper before Wyatt’s trey capped the run.
Over the next four minutes though – the final two minutes of the third period and the first two of the fourth quarter – Carroll County dropped in 12 unanswered points to stretch its lead back out to 16.
Wes Smoot converted two passes from brother Chris Smoot as the third quarter ended with a 6-0 Cavalier run. The Cavaliers then scored six points in the fourth period before the Blue Devils got the ball past midcourt. Cody Keith hit a jumpshot, Connor Lundy converted his own steal into a layup and then scored off of Chris Smoot’s takeaway for a 49-33 lead at the 7:20 mark of the fourth.
Grayson climbed back to within 11 points, 58-47, on two Cannaday free throws with 4:33 to play, but Carroll County closed the game on a 10-4 run, including making all four free throw attempts.
Grayson County held the Cavaliers to four points through the game’s first 4:45 and led 8-4 on Landon Frost’s layup. Carroll County outscored the Blue Devils 13-0 the last 3:12 of the period and never trailed again.
“We tried something different tonight and played a lot more deliberate,” Austin said. “We passed around and were a little more patient. We just went over that in a walk-through an hour before the game and the guys did a good job executing the game plan.”
“We thought they might come out in something different,” Hawks said. “Lucas does a great job changing defenses and they came out in a 2-3. We didn’t shoot the ball well early but we started working the ball inside and got the tempo where we like it, and that was when we got our run in the third quarter.
Cannaday led all scorers with 20 points to go with nine rebounds for Grayson County, which got 15 points and 11 boards from Rodgers.
Four Cavaliers hit double figures, led by Lundy with 15 points. Ryan Gravley and Austin Horton dropped in 14 points apiece and Wes Smoot scored 10 to go with 10 rebounds. Chris Smoot added eight points and five steals.
Both teams move on to district play tonight.
“I’m glad that match-up’s over,” Austin said with a laugh. “Carroll’s a good team and they’re well-coached. They get the lead late in the game, they take care of the ball and make their free throws.”
Grayson County......8 11 14 18––51
Carroll County......17 13 13 25––68
Grayson County (6-4)
Frost 2 0-0 4, Cannaday 7 3-4 20, Roberts 0 0-0 0, Rudy 2 0-0 4, Mx.Rodgers 7 0-1 15, Wyatt 2 1-2 6, Vaughan 0 0-0 0, Bedsaul 1 0-0 2, Circle 0 0-0 0, Billings 0 0-0 0, Morris 0 0-0 0, Anders 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 4-7 51.
Carroll County (8-1)
Gravley 4 5-5 14, C.Smoot 3 0-0 8, Beamer 0 1-2 1, Case 0 0-0 0, Lundy 7 0-0 15, Keith 2 0-0 4, Pack 0 0-0 0, Lineberry 1 0-0 2, W.Smoot 4 2-5 10, Reece 0 0-0 0, Horton 7 0-0 14, Snow 0 0-0 0, Holder 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 8-12 68.
Three-point field goals – Grayson County 5-18 (Cannaday 3, Mx.Rodgers, Wyatt), Carroll County 4-14 (C.Smoot 2, Gravley, Lundy). Rebounds – Grayson County 34 (Mx.Rodgers 11), Carroll County 43 (W.Smoot 10). Turnovers – Grayson County 19, Carroll County 12. Team fouls – Grayson County 13, Carroll County 7. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.
JV – Carroll County 49-32.