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HILLSVILLE -- Grayson County has averaged nearly 80 points per game over its last seven outings, mostly by forcing the tempo and beating defenses down the floor. Wednesday, the Blue Devils showed they didn’t have to run all night to put up a chunk of points.
Grayson County was deadly from 3-point range and shot 56 percent from the floor overall, pulling away in the second half to deal Carroll County an 89-66 nondistrict defeat.
“We actually shot the ball,” Blue Devil coach Lucas Austin said. “I’m not sure what the stats were, 9-of-17 from behind the arc or something like that? That’s by far the best we’ve shot it.”
The Blue Devils were actually 10-of-17 from long range, including five triples by Tyler Rutherford, but Carroll County (1-9) still hung with Grayson for the better part of three quarters.
Trailing by twelve at halftime, the Cavaliers held the Blue Devils (8-2) scoreless for three and a half minutes midway through the third and got baskets from Tyler Reavis, Caleb Taylor and Brandon Noonkester to whittle Grayson’s lead to a mere seven points, 54-47, with 2:02 remaining in the third period.
It seemed like no time before that seven-point difference exploded into a 27-point gap.
Beginning with an Eric Harvey putback at 1:48 of the third, Grayson County went on a 24-4 run in a little more than five minutes to squash any Cavalier comeback hopes. The Devils hit four of their 3-pointers during the run, three by Rutherford. The spurt was punctuated when Adam Cornett’s bomb fell through for a 78-51 lead with 4:43 to go.
“If we hadn’t done that it would have been a lot closer,” Austin said. “I thought we might be able to get up and down the floor on them better, but they did a nice job getting back on defense.”
“We knew they were going to come in and try to push the ball and run it up our backs and get easy points, and they did that a lot in the first half,” Carroll County coach Brad Hawks said. “After that we designated a guy to get back. They didn’t run it as much in the second half as they did in the first, but they started hitting from the outside, so it was pick your poison.”
Toxic to Carroll County was an inability to capitalize on numerous early scoring opportunities. Hawks said the Cavaliers missed 13 shots from the paint in the first half alone.
“You miss that many easy shots, you’re not going to compete,” he said. “Second half we were 0-for-5 from the 3-point line and 10-for-27 from the floor. Sooner or later we’re going to have to finish, and until we do it’s going to be a long season.”
Field goal shooting, turnovers and rebounds were fairly even for the two teams in the first half, the 12-point difference coming from the Blue Devils hitting 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Bubba Bowen canned a pair of treys as Grayson took a 25-14 lead after one quarter and Steven Eller knocked down a couple more in the second.
Five Blue Devils scored in double figures, including a season-high 24 points from Rutherford. Eller tossed in 16, Bowen scored 15, Harvey added 12 and Mikey Rogers had 10.
Grayson center Jake Blizzard sat the game out, resting a deep abdominal bruise.
“Ol’ Jake, he does a lot for us,” Austin said. “He plays the middle and plays a lot of help-side, and I felt like that’s what we were missing tonight. We weren’t as strong rebounding, but it’s good that one of our better players is out and we can still win. I was proud of the guys who were in there.”
Mac Martin led Carroll County with 14 points, all coming in the first half, while Reavis and Adam Crotts scored 13 apiece.
“The kids are getting better, and we looked alright for three and a half quarters,” said Hawks. “We were in the game. But Grayson’s got a good ballteam. They’re got a real good team.”
Grayson County..25 21 19 24––89
Carroll County.....14 20 13 19––66
Grayson County (8-2)
Rutherford 9 1-2 24, Hill 1 0-0 2, Phipps 3 0-0 6, Eller 7 0-0 16, Rodgers 5 0-0 10, Cornett 1 1-2 4, Harvey 6 0-0 12, Bowen 3 7-8 15. Totals 35 9-12 89.
Carroll County (1-9)
E.Marshall 1 0-0 2, Reavis 5 3-4 13, Taylor 2 0-0 4, Frazier 1 0-0 2, Martin 6 1-2 14, Alley 2 2-3 6, Noonkester 3 0-0 6, Horton 1 4-6 6, Crotts 5 3-6 13. Totals 26 10-21 66.
Three-point field goals – Grayson County 10-17 (Rutherford 5, Eller 2, Bowen 2, Cornett), Carroll County 1-10 (Martin). Rebounds – Grayson County 37 (Rodgers 7), Carroll County 35 (Crotts 9). Turnovers – Grayson County 25, Carroll County 20. Team fouls – Grayson County 16, Carroll County 12. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.
JV – Grayson County won.