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HILLSVILLE –– Lindsay Martin admits that she is afraid of heights. She gladly dealt with the phobia Friday, even if it meant climbing a ladder with a pair of scissors in her hand.
The Cavalier sharpshooter and her teammates became the first Carroll County girls to cut down the nets after a region title game, ending a string of five championship game losses with a 49-46 win over top-seeded Salem in the Region IV Division 4 finals at Carroll.
The second-seeded Cavaliers (22-4), winners of 11 straight and 15 of their last 16, advance to the state quarterfinals next weekend at the Salem Civic Center while the Spartans (20-6), who saw a 12-game winning streak end, await the outcome of the Region III title game to learn their first-round destination.
“That was an awesome feeling,” said Martin, whose 21 semifinal points a night before had boosted the Cavs into the finals. “This was the team’s No. 1 goal this year, to cut down those nets and hang a banner on the wall.”
Cavalier coach Marc Motley had guided his teams to four previous state tournament appearances, but always as a region runner-up.
“I told the kids right before the game, I said, ‘Ladies, this is my fifth time here,’ ” he said. “ ‘I’m tired of being second place. I’m tired of hearing we can’t play with the River Ridge [District] and the Piedmont, it’s time to step up and prove them wrong.’ But you don’t need a lot of motivation in this kind of game.”
Despite trailing by 12 points with six minutes to play, the Spartans nearly ruined the party. Salem began sending Carroll to the foul line with more than two minutes remaining, and the Cavaliers cooperated by hitting just 8-of-17 down the stretch.
The Spartans chipped away, scoring half of their game total in the fourth quarter and drawing to within 46-43 on a three-point play by Tessa Foley with 25 seconds left before the comeback ran out of gas.
“To be honest I didn’t think we were going to come out with the win,” said 6-1 Carroll center Shyann Dalton, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds while battling Foley, Salem’s 6-2 junior post. “They’re solid, we just played hard and got it done.”
Salem faced an uphill climb from the onset, managing just two points in the second quarter and trailing 21-9 at halftime after going scoreless the final 6:23 of the half. The Cavaliers’ Rachel Dalton had eight first-half points, including two 3-pointers, finishing the night with 14.
“I thought we did an excellent job defending,” Motley said. “We did a good job in the second half, but they really forced the issue, got the ball in the paint and got to the foul line.”
“I don’t expect to lose,” Salem coach DeWayne Harrell said. “That’s the mentality I want the kids to have also. But this is a good gym to play in. A good, good basketball environment here. The fans are great here.”
Tay Taylor had seven of the Spartans’ nine first-half points and allowed that the electric atmosphere may have played a part in the slow start.
“It was a little bit of everything,” said the talented junior guard, who scored a game-high 21 points. “We came in with a confident attitude and we just needed to click, but out shots weren’t falling.”
Martin had two second-quarter 3-pointers, including one at the 4-minute mark, the final points for either team in the first half. Crysta Guynn knocked down two treys in the third period as the Cavaliers took a 36-23 lead into the fourth. Shyann Dalton opened the fourth with a basket that gave Carroll its largest lead of the night, 38-23.
Carroll County......11 10 15 13––49
Salem......................7 2 14 23––46
Carroll County (22-4)
Hiatt 0 0-2 0, R.Dalton 4 3-4 14, T.Martin 0 4-9 4, L.Martin 2 3-5 9, S.Dalton 3 4-6 10, Alderman 0 0-0 0, Hash 0 2-3 2, Guynn 3 0-0 8, McCann 0 0-0 0, Sellers 1 0-2 2. Totals 13 16-31 49.
Garst 2 0-0 5, Price 2 0-0 6, K.Migliarese 2 0-2 4, Taylor 8 3-4 21, Foley 3 2-5 8, Hudson 0 0-0 0, Plympton 0 0-0 0, M.Migliarese 0 0-0 0, Dishaw 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 5-11 46.
Three-point field goals – Carroll County 7-19 (R.Dalton 3, Guynn 2, L.Martin 2), Salem 5-14 (Price 2, Taylor 2, Garst). Rebounds – Carroll County 31 (S.Dalton 10), Salem 33 (Foley 13). Team fouls – Carroll County 12, Salem 22. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.
Carroll County 46, Bassett 44, OT: The Cavaliers held the Bengals to one point over the final five and a half minutes, including zero in overtime, to escape with the win in the semifinals Thursday in Hillsville.
Carroll County trailed 43-37 with a little more than a minute to play to play when Rachel Dalton and Taylor Martin hit driving layups for the Cavaliers following Bassett misses at the foul line.
After Andrea Venable hit one free throw for a three-point Bengals lead with 23 seconds left, Dalton dished off to an open Lindsay Martin for a tying 3-pointer, her 21st point of the night, with six seconds left in regulation.
Bassett held the ball for nearly three minutes to start overtime before missing a long 3-pointer and Shyann Dalton, who gathered 15 rebounds on the night, scored the only two points for either team in the extra session off of a lob pass into the post with 36 seconds to go.
Rachel Dalton blocked a potential tying basket by the Bengals in the waning seconds.
Bassett....................8 9 11 16 0––44
Carroll County......12 10 8 14 2––46
Manns 2, Covington 6, Warrick 10, S.Venable 3, Keith 4, A.Venable 9, Burnette 4, Scales 6.
Carroll County (21-4)
R.Dalton 9, T.Martin 5, Guynn 3, McCann 2, L.Martin 21, S.Dalton 6.
Three-point field goals – Bassett 4 (Warrick 2, S.Venable, A.Venable), Carroll County 2 (L.Martin 2).