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RIDGEWAY -- With the season, her high school career, on the line, Kayla Goins stood at the foul line as 60 excruciatingly-long seconds plodded away. The Region IV Division 4 semifinal was put on hold with 1.8 seconds on the clock and the score tied at 56 while Hidden Valley wisely took its full allotted minute to sub for a player who had just fouled out. The least nervous person in the gym may have been Goins herself. Finally given the ball, the Cavalier senior calmly swished two free throws, propelling Carroll County into the region finals with a 58-56 win Thursday at Magna Vista High School. The victory also earned the Cavaliers (19-3) a spot in the Group AA Division 4 state tournament. “I didn’t even know what was going on,” said Goins, who was 14-for-16 from the foul line and scored a game-high 32 points. “They didn’t give me the ball and I turned around and I was like, Oh, she’s fouled out I guess.” Goins had gone to the line after Hidden Valley knotted the score on Kayla Osborne’s layup with 12 ticks left. Carroll dribbled past midcourt and called timeout to set up a final play. “We assumed they would double Kayla so we tried to run a backdoor cut for Lindsey [Martin],” Carroll coach Marc Motley said. “But they didn’t do it and Kayla improvised on her own and took it right to the hole. You get her on the line with 1.8 seconds in a tie game, I felt very comfortable.” It took a remarkable effort by the Cavaliers just to be in a position to win. Carroll didn’t attempt a shot for the game’s first two-plus minutes, didn’t have a rebound for three minutes and started on a 1-for-11 shooting funk as the Titans (18-8) jumped to an 11-2 lead after four minutes, 20-9 by the five-minute mark of the second quarter. “I think it was a little bit of nerves,” Motley said. “Sometimes the speed of the game is a little different than what we’re used to in our district.” Goins put the scoring load on her back and poured in 12 second-quarter points, tallying 17 of her team’s 22 first-half points as Carroll closed to within 24-22 by halftime. The Cavaliers drew even, 44-all, by the end of the third period as Goins and Osborne put on their own personal h-o-r-s-e match. Osborne hit three 3-pointers and scored 16 points in the third, Goins answering with 10 points in the period. Rachel Dalton added a 3-pointer and the Cavaliers got putbacks from Kaitlan Viars and Cydnie Cornell during the run. Viars’ stickback gave Carroll its first lead of the night, 33-32, at 5:05 of the third period. A woozy Maleah Neely was then given the task of slowing down Osborne. “[Maleah] had been suffering from the flu, throwing up all last night, didn’t ride the bus down because she didn’t want to get anybody else sick,” Motley said. “We put her on No. 4 and she quit hitting threes when we put Maleah on her.” Osborne finished with 24 points, but had just four after the third quarter. “My job was basically to stop her from going to the basket, stop her from shooting the three, just kinda stay on her,” said a pale Neely afterward. “There were some times I felt lightheaded and queasy, but whenever felt like that I told [Motley] I couldn’t go anymore and he subbed me out. We just worked around it.” Neely also scored Carroll’s first six points of the fourth quarter and finished with nine for the game. Nine ties and eight lead changes after the Cavs took their first lead, Goins waited at the foul line. “This is what we’ve worked for since kindergarten,” said Goins of the thoughts going through her head. “That’s all I could think of – this is where we want to be, this is where we want to go. We want to go on. I can’t miss these.” She didn’t. “We’re not ultra-talented, but we play harder than the other team on the floor most nights,” Motley said. “I think that’s what won the game for us. I thought we played harder than they did when it came to crunch time.” Hidden Valley......13 11 20 12––56 Carroll County.......7 15 22 14––58
Hidden Valley (18-8) Osborne 7 2-4 24, Evans 6 2-4 14, Grove 1 2-2 4, Crotty 1 2-2 4, Driver 1 2-2 4, McDonald 1 0-2 2, Conner 2 0-2 4. Totals 19 11-24 56. Carroll County (19-3) Goins 8 14-16 32, R.Dalton 2 1-2 6, Neely 3 3-5 9, Cornell 1 1-2 3, Martin 0 2-4 2, Viars 2 0-1 4, S.Dalton 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 21-30 58.
Three-point field goals – Hidden Valley 4-9 (Osborne 4), Carroll County 3-11 (Goins 2, R.Dalton). Rebounds – Hidden Valley 27 (Driver 9), Carroll County 32 (Viars 6). Turnovers – Hidden Valley 12, Carroll County 15. Team fouls – Hidden Valley 22, Carroll County 18. Fouled out – Crotty. Technical fouls – none.