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HILLSVILLE –– Starting a new season with two losses in two nights isn’t the best thing that ever happened to a basketball team. Starting a season with close setbacks to a pair of teams that will contend for region championships, a thing like that can bring optimism to a club that’s fielding four new starters.
Carroll County held a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter before a flurry of outside jumpers fueled a 10-0 Floyd County run, and the Buffaloes held on for a 62-57 win in a nondistrict game Tuesday night.
Floyd County is coming off a 23-2 season and should be in the mix for the Group A Division 2 championship this season, a fact certainly not lost on Cavalier coach Marc Motley.
“I told my kids after the game I was proud as heck of them, both nights,” said Motley, whose team dropped a five-point loss the night before to Patrick County, which should contend for the Region IV Division 3 crown. “They fought to the bitter end tonight against as good a basketball team they’ll see this side of maybe the regionals. That’s a really good basketball team right there. I don’t see a team in our region any better than either [Patrick or Floyd]. That’s good for us.”
Carroll County battled through a ragged start before settling down, and took its first lead, 33-32, midway through the third period with a 9-3 run that started with a Megan Alderman 3-pointer and finished when Taylor Martin threaded a pair of passes that led to layups by Rachel Sellers and Crysta Guynn.
Machala Hash sank a trey, Martin added a three-point play and Sellers nailed three free throws to send the Cavaliers into the fourth quarter leading 44-43.
Driving layups by Hash and Martin gave Carroll County its biggest lead of the night, 48-43, before the Buffaloes zeroed in from long range. Hannah Belshan connected from 18 feet out, then Carley Lytton and Christene Phillips each canned a 3-pointer to cap a 10-point spurt that put Floyd in front to stay, 53-48, with 4:06 to play.
“They play 12 kids and they got into our legs a little bit,” said Motley. “I was afraid they’d do that sometime late in the third quarter, but they really didn’t get into our legs until about three or four minutes to go in the fourth. These kids played a lot of minutes, and I don’t know that this team doesn’t play harder than any team I’ve coached since I’ve been here.”
Hash would sink one last 3-pointer and Martin scored in transition to cut the spread to 59-55 but the Cavaliers would get no closer.
Carroll County opened the night 1-of-9 from the floor with nine turnovers and fell behind by double figures, 24-14, on Lytton’s basket 2:24 before the half. The Cavaliers got an inside bucket and later two foul shots from Sellers just before the half to whittle the gap to 26-22 by the break.
Sellers finished with a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead all scorers.
“I don’t think she’s ever scored in double figures,” said Motley. “She would come in three minutes a quarter last year. She rebounded and she played defense and did what we asked her to. I got on to her last night because we couldn’t get her to shoot the basketball. I think she’s got a little confidence now.”
Floyd was paced by Emily Booth’s 15 points, plus 11 from Phillips and 10 from Lytton.
“I told the kids, don’t look at 0-2. Look at what you learned from this, and look at how hard you’re playing. We’re going to take this down the road with us and we’re going to get better and we’re going to be able to finish at the end of a game.”
Floyd County......12 14 17 19––62
Carroll County......6 16 22 13––57
Floyd County (1-0)
Lytton 3 2-6 10, Wiseman 0 0-0 0, Bolt 0 1-4 1, N.Boothe 2 0-0 5, Kuchenbuch 1 1-4 3, E.Boothe 6 0-0 15, Phillips 3 4-4 11, Hollandsworth 1 2-4 4, Royal 1 1-2 3, Belshan 3 1-2 8, Worley 0 2-2 2. Totals 20 14-28 62.
Carroll County (0-2)
Alderman 3 0-1 9, Hash 3 0-0 8, Caldwell 1 0-1 2, Martin 3 3-5 9, Guynn 2 3-4 7, McCann 1 0-0 2, Sellers 6 8-10 20. Totals 19, 14-21, 57.
Three-point field goals – Floyd County 8-24 (E.Boothe 3, Lytton 2, N.Boothe, Phillips, Belshan), Carroll County 5-11 (Alderman 3, Hash 2). Rebounds – Floyd County 47 (Lytton, Wiseman 7), Carroll County 42 (Sellers 10). Turnovers – Floyd County 18, Carroll County 23. Team fouls – Floyd County 24, Carroll County 20. Fouled out – Hash. Technical fouls – none.
JV – Carroll County 42-29.
Patrick County 54, Carroll County 49: The Cougars were able to hold on down the stretch and knocked off the Cavaliers in a nondistrict girls’ game Tuesday in Stuart. It was the season opener for both schools.
The Cavaliers trimmed a 26-19 halftime deficit to 34-32 by the end of the third quarter but were unable to complete the comeback.
Hannah Helbert poured in 18 points and Bri Dodson added 11 to lead Patrick County. Taylor Martin and Hayden Caldwell led the Cavaliers with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Carroll County......12 7 13 17––49
Patrick County......13 13 8 20––54
Carroll County (0-1)
Alderman 5, Hash 8, Caldwell 12, Martin 14, Guynn 6, Sellers 4.
Patrick County (1-0)
Gammons 2, Whitt 9, Dodson 11, Reynolds 6, Wilkenson 3, Mitchell 4, Helbert 18, Owens 1.
Three-point field goals – Carroll County 2 (Caldwell, Guynn), Patrick County 2 (Dodson 2).
JV – Carroll County won.