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Galax couldn’t overcome its own chilly start in its Mountain Empire District game Friday with Graham. Even if it had, the Maroon Tide may not have been able to overcome the rather balmy opening enjoyed by the G-Girls’ Lexi Kiser.
The Graham point guard poured in 11 points in the first quarter as the G-Girls seized control early on with a 16-point lead and went on to deal the Maroon Tide a 54-39 setback.
Galax dropped to 5-7 overall and 1-3 in league play while Graham stayed firmly atop the MED standings at 5-0, improving to 9-6 overall.
Graham never trailed and was barely threatened after Kiser had a hand in the G-Girls’ first seven points. She opened the game with a 3-pointer, went coast-to-coast off a defensive rebound for a layup and later grabbed an errant Galax 3-point attempt, leading to a Jia Coppola transition bucket.
Galax’s only point in the first seven minutes was a Paige Hanks free throw that interrupted Graham’s 7-0 start, but the G-Girls followed with an 8-0 run to take a 15-1 lead as Kiser scored twice off of steals.
Galax ended an 0-for-8 drought and got its first field goal, a Haley Larrowe bucket off a Lindsey Ayers offensive board, with just under a minute to play in the first period but Graham took a 19-3 lead into the second quarter.
The Maroon Tide made two solid runs at the G-Girls, but the Graham cushion was more than enough to absorb the Galax challenge. Trailing 23-9, the Maroon Tide briefly climbed to within single digits with a 5-0 run capped by a Madison Shupe stickback. Galax was still within 12 points when Graham closed the first half on a 7-2 run that included another 3-pointer by Kiser, who had 17 of her game-high 24 points by intermission.
Graham closed the third quarter with four straight points, holding the Maroon Tide scoreless over the final 2:39 of the period to take a 44-26 lead into the fourth, but Galax made one last push and had multiple possessions to get back to within 10.
Kiser’s third 3-pointer of the night was Graham’s only points in the first 5:30 of the final period and put the G-Girls up 50-28 with 6:45 to play. Galax’s Rachel Bennett was heating up at that point and dropped in all seven of her points in a span of a little more than three minutes, including a jumper from the wing that capped a 9-0 Galax run and pulled the Maroon Tide to within 50-37. Galax had three possessions with which to draw closer but went 0-for-4 with two turnovers.
Still playing without Sydney Lindsey and Holly Cassell, Galax dressed eight players and technically finished with four. Graham was in the bonus less than halfway through the third period and the Maroon Tide’s fourth player fouled out at the final buzzer.
Kiser finished with five steals and five rebounds to go with her 24 points and Coppola added 11 points. Dejah Carter provided 10 points and eight boards.
Carleigh Pack had nine points and 10 rebounds for the Maroon Tide.
Graham......19 17 11 7––54
Galax............3 15 7 14––39
Graham (9-6, 5-0)
Kiser 6 9-17 24, Leung 0 2-2 2, Gallinger 1 2-2 4, Evans 0 1-2 1, Coppola 3 5-10 11, Rasnake 1 0-0 2, Carter 5 0-3 10. Totals 16 19-36 54.
Galax (5-7, 1-3)
Davis 0 0-0 0, Ayers 2 4-7 8, Bennett 3 1-2 7, Hanks 1 4-7 6, Shupe 2 0-0 4, Pack 4 1-4 9, Larrowe 2 0-0 5. Totals 14 10-20 39.
Three-point field goals – Graham 3-5 (Kiser 3), Galax 1-15 (Larrowe). Rebounds – Graham 42 (Evans, Carter 8), Galax 46 (Pack 10). Turnovers – Graham 15, Galax 19. Team fouls – Graham 20, Galax 29. Fouled out – Davis, Ayers, Shupe, Larrowe.
JV – Galax, 31-20.