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Devils trip up Tide 74-67

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A four-shot trip to the foul line turned the momentum as Grayson handed Galax its first district loss.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Over the years, Grayson County-Galax basketball games have been decided by buzzer-beaters, they have been lopsided laughers and they have been swayed by tremendous individual efforts. The most recent meeting was the first one in which the outcome was greatly influenced by a scramble for the ball near midcourt.

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Galax rallied from a 12-point deficit to tie Grayson County by early in the fourth quarter when a debated call resulted in a huge momentum swing leading to a 74-67 Blue Devil win in a Mountain Empire District game Saturday night.

Tied at 59, a tussle for the ball resulted in bodies on the floor, a personal foul, a technical foul and four Grayson County free throws. Bubba Bowen hit all four foul shots and the Blue Devils held the led the rest of the game. Grayson only hit one field goal in the fourth but was 17-for- 22 from the foul line.

“That was obviously a swing when we got those four free throws,” Grayson County coach Lucas Austin said. “I thought [the official] was calling a foul on us and a technical on them. I don’t know if he got confused or what, but it worked out for us.”

“My understanding is that he called a foul on Grayson and the next thing I know we got a technical foul and a [personal] foul, and we didn’t recover,” Galax coach Verl Brown said. “I was trying to call timeout, and we wouldn’t have been in that situation if we had gotten the timeout. But I don’t blame the referees, because when you’re 3-for-28 [on 3-pointers], you’re not going to win. But it was crucial. We had things going our way.”

Grayson County (14-6 overall, 4-2 district) shot 53 percent from the floor in taking a 40-29 halftime lead, but Galax (17-2, 4-1) turned it around at halftime and opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run, pulling to within 44-42 on Cameron Frazier’s driving layup at 4:44 of the third.

The teams traded buckets through the end of the period, with Frazier’s 12 points in the third helping Galax head into the fourth down just 55-53. The Tide finally caught the Devils on another Frazier drive to open the fourth.

“Frazier kind of took over, getting penetration on us,” Austin said. “He made some tough shots.”

“ I was pleased with how we came out in the third quarter and made it a ballgame,” Brown said. “The big thing that hurt us was not rebounding, and we missed too many shots. Go 3-for-28 from the three, and you’re not going to beat anybody.”

Grayson County held a 38-21 edge on the boards through the first three quarters, and Galax struggled shooting, hitting just 10 of 35 from the floor in the first half.

Justin Hash scored nine points for Galax as the score was tied at 15 after six minutes, but the Blue Devils began pulling away. Two Tyler Rutherford jumpers and an Eric Harvey stickback started a 15-4 Grayson run in which Galax was held to four foul shots.

“We started off in a triangle-and-two to try to stop [Frazier and Scott Alouf], and Hash hit a long 2 and a 3-pointer and another jumpshot, so we got out of that and just tried to lock down on Frazier and Alouf. Bubba did a good job on Alouf.”

Preston Bowen’s bucket gave the Devils their biggest lead of the night, 32-20, with 3:25 left in the half.

“I think Grayson came out more focused and more intense,” Brown said. “They played a tremendous ballgame. They outhustled us on every loose ball.”

Frazier led all scorers with 27 points and Deion George added 10 for Galax. Harvey and Bubba Bowen each had 22 points for Grayson, with Harvey grabbing 15 rebounds and Preston Bowen gathering 10. Rutherford tossed in 12 points. Preston Bowen and Jake Blizzard had combined for 38 rebounds the night before in a win at Bland.

“Jake has stepped up the last couple of games, took some big charges and finished around the basket real good,” Austin said.

The win doesn’t change anything as far as the district standings are concerned, but should send the Devils into the home stretch with a little hop in their step.

“It’s a big, big win for us,” Austin said. “The kids, all they’ve talked about from the beginning of the year was wanting to beat Galax, and we haven’t done it since 03-04.”

“We still hold our own destiny,” said Brown. “We have to win out and we’ll be district champs, but we’ve got to bounce back.”

Grayson County 21 19 15 19––74

Galax 17 12 24 14––67

Grayson County (14-6, 4-2)

Rutherford 5 0-0 12, P.Bowen 1 2-4 4, Harvey 7 8-8 22, B.Bowen 5 12-16 22, Blizzard 5 0-2 10, Eller 1 2-2 4. Totals 24 24-32 74.

Galax (17-2, 4-1)

Hash 4 0-0 9, Frazier 9 7-9 27, Alouf 1 4-6 7, Houk 2 0-0 4, Adams 2 2-5 6, Martin 0 0-0 0, George 4 2-2 10, Anderson 1 0-1 2, Douglas 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 15-21 67.

Three-point field goals – Grayson County 2-8 (Rutherford 2), Galax 3-27 (Frazier 2, Hash). Rebounds – Grayson County 52 (Harvey 15), Galax 38 (Alouf 8). Turnovers – Grayson County 24, Galax 13. Steals – Grayson County 0, Galax 11. Team fouls – Grayson County 17, Galax 28. Fouled out – Rutherford, Adams, Houk. Technical fouls – Hash.

JV – Galax won.