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Cavs wrap up SWD title

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Carroll County will not make up its final two district games and finishes with a 10-0 mark.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 HILLSVILLE -- Due to traffic congestion on I-77, Grundy arrived 30 minutes late for its Southwest District game at Carroll County. The Cavaliers got it over with early just the same.

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Nine days after having to come from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Golden Wave by 10 points, Carroll County built a nine-point halftime lead and gradually pulled away in the second half to take a 54-32 win Friday on senior night and put the finishing touches on the regular season championship. Carroll (16-3 overall, 10-0 district) got its SWD schedule over with early as well. With nobody in the district within reach of the Cavaliers, snowed-out games with Graham and Tazewell will not be made up. The most difficult road trip of the year nearly caught up with the Cavaliers in the two teams’ first meeting. Not Friday. “The first time we played them we hadn’t practiced for a week,” Cavalier coach Marc Motley said. “We drive three hours down the road and you’ve got to step off the bus and play, and I got mad at my kids before the game even started because we were so lackluster in warm-ups. Tonight I told coach [Haley] Lineberry that we looked 10 times better in warm-ups than we looked all night at Grundy.” Still, Carroll County (16-3 overall, 10-0 district) was on track for another tight game as Lori Webb’s reverse layup pulled Grundy (10-8, 4-4) to within 18-14 with 4:50 left in the first half. The Golden Wave would go scoreless the rest of the half, and while the Cavaliers couldn’t take full advantage, they did get a driving layup from Rachel Dalton and a putback from Maleah Neely to take a 22-14 halftime lead. Grundy pulled to within five points on Samantha Owens’ basket early in the third quarter, but Carroll County finished the period – and finished off the Wave – with a 13-4 run fueled by Dalton. Following layups by Kayla Goins and Neely, Dalton drove the lane for two and then hit a pair of 3-pointers, including one that beat the third-quarter buzzer for a 36-23 Cavalier lead entering the fourth. “I told Rachel in the locker room this was the best game I’d seen her play in two years,” said Motley. “It’s not the most points she’s scored, it’s not the most threes she’s hit, but she did everything well tonight. She defended, she passed the basketball and she was able to take the ball to the hole and hit from the outside.” Goins knocked down two 3-pointers early in the fourth and fed Neely for an easy deuce as the lead eventually grew to 20 points, 48-28, with 2:31 to play. The Cavaliers needed the lengthy Grundy drought at the end of the half to finally get some separation, leading by just two points after the first period. The Golden Wave hit four of its first seven shots from the floor, including 3-pointers by Savannah Charles and Lori Webb. Webb’s trey answered a 3-pointer by Dalton and tied the game at 10-10, but Dalton ended the first quarter with a layup for a 12-10 lead.  “We came out ready to play, but so did they,” said Motley. “It’s a difference when you don’t have to travel three hours. I know its tough on them when they have to come here, and we go through the same thing going there.” Tied 12-12 early in the second, Goins scored underneath and Emily Hiatt and Audrey Dickens both scored from short range to start a 10-2 run to the end of the half. The Cavaliers only went to the foul line once the entire night, with Kallie Scott hitting both shots, and turned the ball over a season-low 10 times, including five through the first three quarters. Dalton led all scorers with 17 points and Goins added 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Each hit three 3-pointers on the evening. Four different players scored seven points apiece for the Golden Wave.   Grundy.................10   4    9   10––33 Carroll County......12  10  14  18––54

Grundy (10-8, 4-4) Cantrell 2 3-4 7, Stiltner 2 3-7 7, Owens 3 1-4 7, Charles 2 0-2 5, Webb 3 0-0 7. Totals 12 7-17 33. Carroll County (16-3, 10-0) Hiatt 1 0-0 2, Goins 6 0-0 15, R.Dalton 7 0-0 17, Neely 3 0-0 6, Singleton 2 0-0 4, Dickens 2 0-0 4, Scott 0 2-2 2, Viars 2 0-0 4. Totals 23 2-2 54.

Three-point field goals – Grundy 2-12 (Charles, Webb), Carroll County 6-15 (Goins 3, R.Dalton 3). Rebounds – Grundy 23 (Cantrell, Owens 5), Carroll County 31 (Goins 10). Turnovers – Grundy 16, Carroll County 10. Team fouls – Grundy 6, Carroll County 15. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.