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Cavs finish strong to win SWD

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Late surges lifted Carroll past Graham and Tazewell and into the top spot in this week’s regionals.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– When Kayla Goins stepped to the foul line with the Southwest District title game knotted at 37 and with 4.3 seconds left on the clock, it would be safe to say that Carroll County was due.

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The Cavaliers had missed 13 of their previous 16 free throws, including the last eight straight, before Goins calmly swished both shots, giving top-seeded Carroll County a 39-37 win over Graham and the tournament championship to go with its season title.

“I told coach [Mark Rexrode], ‘I think we’re about 3 out of 15,’ before Kayla went to the line. ‘I hope we can get one of these,’ ” Carroll County coach Marc Motley said. “Fortunately she knocked down both of them. She’s a gamer. She did the same thing at Graham in double overtime. She hit two with 10 seconds left, and we were down one then. She’s our motor. She’s there in crunch time, when you need her to make a play.”

The G-Girls led 37-32 on Kelli Landreth’s baseline jumper with 3:10 to play, but the Cavaliers scored the game’s final seven points as Graham missed its final five attempts from the floor. Goins came off a Kaitlan Viars screen to nail a 3-pointer with 2:28 remaining, and Audrey Dickens drove the lane to tie the game at 37 with 1:38 left.

Cydnie Cornell gathered a Graham miss and the Cavaliers killed the better part of a minute before Goins drove in from the left side, drew a two-shot foul on the G-Girls’ Megan Henry and hit the game-winners.

Graham, which called timeout to set up a final play, was unable to get a shot off before time expired.

Carroll County (16-8) will enter the Region IV Division 4 tournament as the top seed, and though official pairings weren’t released until the weekend, Carroll was expected to face Christiansburg in the opening round Tuesday.

Neither team led by more than four points through the first three periods, which featured 11 lead changes and four ties. Chrystal Dickens scored from underneath to cap an 11-4 Graham run for a 17-13 G-Girl lead 2:02 before the half, but Carroll County regained a 20-19 lead on Cornell’s layup just before the halftime buzzer. Chelsea Gallinger scored six points in the third quarter as Graham took a 29-28 lead into the fourth, and Graham held the largest lead by either team, five points, on its final basket of the night.

The Cavaliers were 16 for 42 from the floor, were outrebounded 38-25 and hit just 5 of 18 foul shots, but Carroll County took care of the basketball, committing just six turnovers, none in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t shoot the ball that great tonight, but we didn’t turn it over much,” Motley said. “You’ve got to give [Graham] credit. They played good defense. They got in the passing lanes, I don’t think they gave us but three of four looks at a 3-pointer all night, and only two or three good ones, and fortunately we knocked down the two or three good ones that we had.”

Goins led all scorers with 16 points while Jones paced Graham with 10.

Graham 6 13 10 8––37

Carroll County 6 14 8 11––39

Graham (17-7)

Landreth 2 0-0 4, Lampert 0 0-0 0, Gallinger 2 3-4 7, Henry 2 4-6 8, Jones 4 2-2 10, Simpson 1 0-0 2, C.Dickens 2 2-2 6, Rasnake 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 11-14 37.

Carroll County (16-8)

Hill 0 0-0 0, Goins 6 3-7 16, Cornell 3 0-4 6, A.Dickens 3 1-3 7, Viars 3 1-2 7, Dalton 1 0-2 3, Neely 0 0-0 0, Ayers 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-18 39.

Three-point field goals – Graham 0-6, Carroll County 2-8 (Dalton, Goins). Rebounds – Graham 38 (Landreth 10), Carroll County 25 (Goins 7). Turnovers – Graham 13, Carroll County 6. Steals – Graham 2, Carroll County 3. Team fouls – Graham 16, Carroll County 13. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.

Carroll County 63, Tazewell 48

The Cavaliers tied a season high with eight 3-pointers from five different players Thursday and pulled away in the second half of their SWD semifinal with the Bulldogs.

Trailing 36-35 early in the third period, Carroll County took control with a 17-3 run punctuated by back-to-back 3-pointers by freshmen Lindsey Martin and Rachel Dalton. Kayla Goins capped the run with a bank shot from 10 feet for a 51-42 lead at 2:04 of the third.

Defensively, the Cavaliers limited the Bulldogs to one field goal in the final 10 minutes, 42 seconds.

Carroll County trailed by as many as five points midway through the second before taking a 34-33 lead at the half.

Goins led the Cavaliers with 26 points. Tazewell got 15 points from Brittany Muncy, 12 from Kelsey Sutherland and 10 from Katelyn Mitchell.

Tazewell 14 19 11 4––48

Carroll County 13 21 17 12––63

Tazewell (8-14)

Sutherland 4 4-4 12, Muncy 4 7-10 15, Vencill 3 2-3 8, Mitchell 4 0-0 10, Thorpe 0 0-0 0, Sparks 1 1-2 3. Totals 16 14-19 48.

Carroll County (15-8)

Hill 1 2-4 4, Goins 11 3-4 26, Cornell 1 2-5 5, Dickens 3 0-0 8, Viars 1 2-2 4, Dalton 3 0-0 8, Neely 1 0-0 2, Ayers 0 0-0 0, Martin 2 0-0 6. Totals 23 9-15 63.

Three-point field goals – Tazewell 2 (Mitchell 2), Carroll County 8 (Dalton 2, Dickens 2, Martin 2, Goins, Cornell). Team fouls – Tazewell 11, Carroll County 15. Fouled out – Muncy. Technical fouls – none.