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MAX MEADOWS –– Grayson County pulled off a 45-point turnaround from three weeks ago and demolished Fort Chiswell 82-56 in a Mountain Empire District boys’ game Friday night.
The win was the fifth in the last six outings for the Blue Devils, who had lost to the Pioneers by 19 points on Jan. 6 during a stretch that saw Grayson drop six of seven.
“They’re getting some confidence, and I’m getting more confidence in them myself,” Grayson County coach Lucas Austin said. “We just came out and punched them in the mouth, and never let up. A lot of the time we were playing with kids who haven’t been playing a lot. Austin Anders played well, James Williams, those kids made plays for us.”
The Blue Devils trailed for just seven seconds, long enough for Adam Wyatt to sprint the length of the floor following a Pioneer bucket and score a transition layup for an 11-10 Grayson County lead with 3:21 left in the first quarter. The Blue Devils spent most of the rest of the evening pulling away.
Wyatt’s bucket, off a Ty Cannaday assist, started a 9-2 run that was capped by a 3-pointer and then a putback by Max Rodgers. Cannaday swished a 3-pointer later in the period as the Blue Devils took a 25-19 lead into the second.
“The key to beating a team like that is breaking their press,” said Austin. “We felt if we could break their press and get into their half-court defense we’d do okay against that 2-3 zone. But first of all we had to beat the press, and Ty did a good job of that, just dribbling through it and finding the open man.”
Fort Chiswell was back to within four points, 31-27, on a Corey Gravely foul shot at 5:40 of the second quarter when the Blue Devils scored 14 unanswered points in a little more than a minute to take control of the game for good. Lucas Rudy ignited the run when he converted a three-point play, forced a turnover and then canned a 3-pointer from the right wing for a 38-27 lead. Cannaday came up with two steals for easy layups and then had a stickback as the lead swelled to 44-27.
The Pioneers closed the half with a flurry and were able to pull to within a dozen, 46-34, by intermission, but Fort went scoreless the first 2:38 of the second half while Grayson County ran off nine unanswered points.
Wyatt put in two layups, Rodgers hit a short jumper and Cannaday nailed a trey at 6:11 of the third to widen the lead to 21 points, 55-34.
The only thing between Grayson County and the four complete quarters Austin has been looking for was a spate of missed free throws and careless passes that allowed the Pioneers to close to 60-46. The Blue Devils ended the third with six straight points, including a steal and breakaway dunk by Rodgers that just beat the horn and sent Grayson into the fourth with a 66-46 lead.
Grayson County shot 55 percent on the night (32-of-58) including a sizzling 20-for-33 in the first half, hitting as many field goals in two quarters as the Pioneers would get in the game.
Cannaday led a balanced scoring attack with 19 points and Rudy scored 13 of his 15 in the first half. Austin Bedsaul was steady throughout and finished with 14 points, Wyatt had eight of his 13 in the third quarter and Rodgers added 10. Rudy and Rodgers both had six rebounds and four steals.
Cory Mabry scored 23 points for the Pioneers, who were 20-of-57 from the floor, including 1-of-18 on 3-pointers.
Grayson County......25 21 20 16––82
Fort Chiswell...........14 15 12 10––56
Grayson County (11-7, 4-2)
Frost 2 2-2 6, Cannaday 6 5-9 19, Roberts 0 0-0 0, Rudy 6 2-3 15, Williams 1 1-4 3, Ruiz 0 0-0 0, Rodgers 4 1-2 10, Wyatt 6 0-0 13, Vaughan 0 0-0 0, Bedsaul 6 2-4 14, Circle 0 0-0 0, Billings 0 0-0 0, Morris 0 0-0 0, Anders 1 0-2 2. Totals 32 13-26 82.
Fort Chiswell (13-5, 4-4)
Mooney 0 0-0 0, C.Mabry 8 7-13 23, Gravely 3 1-4 7, B.Mabry 0 0-0 0, Hamm 2 2-6 6, Perry 0 1-2 1, Thomas 3 1-4 7, Worrell 4 3-4 12. Totals 20 15-33 56.
Three-point field goals – Grayson County 5-14 (Cannaday 2, Rudy, Rodgers, Bedsaul), Fort Chiswell 1-18 (Worrell). Rebounds – Grayson County 36 (Rodgers, Rudy 6), Fort Chiswell 42 (C.Mabry 9). Turnovers – Grayson County 18, Fort Chiswell 25. Team fouls – Grayson County 24, Fort Chiswell 25. Fouled out – Gravely, Worrell. Technical fouls – Gravely.