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INDEPENDENCE –– Grayson County created havoc with its ramped up defense. It created scoring opportunities with an attacking offense. The two together created a win for the Blue Devils.
Cranking up the intensity in its man-to-man defense, Grayson County outscored Narrows 17-2 in the third quarter and cruised to a 59-33 win in a Mountain Empire District boys’ game Tuesday night.
Trailing by a point after eight minutes and leading just 24-22 at halftime, the Blue Devils (7-12 overall, 4-3 district) turned the game with their defense. Playing a deny man-to-man out as far as 25 feet, Grayson County limited the Green Wave (9-9, 2-6) to just 1-of-8 field goal shooting in the third quarter, forcing four turnovers and outrebounding Narrows 11-5.
Grayson County didn’t exactly light it up itself in the third – the Blue Devils hit just three of their nine field goal attempts in the quarter – but Grayson forced the action enough to make repeated trips to the foul line. The Blue Devils cashed in as well as they could have, hitting all 10 free throws in the third quarter.
Grayson County’s 17-3 third-quarter run was in essence the heart of a greater 30-6 blitz that started in the waning seconds of the second period and stretched well into the fourth. Brent Hawks closed the first half with a free throw and the Devils scored the first eight points of the second half, capped by a Max Rodgers layup.
Austin Lively scored for Narrows to break the Grayson run, but the Blue Devils answered with nine more to close out the third quarter. Ty Cannaday hit four straight foul shots and James Williams canned the Blue Devils’ only 3-pointer of the night, and Koby Hill knocked down two free throws to end the third period with Grayson leading 41-24.
The momentum carried on into the fourth quarter, wherein the Blue Devils suddenly started finding breakaway opportunities one after another. Cannaday opened the final period with a three-point play, Cole Davis finished two fast break opportunities after which he and Rodgers both scored in transition, stretching the advantage to 25 points, 55-30.
Narrows didn’t help itself out where it had the chance, connecting on just five of 20 free throw attempts in the second half, although many came well after the outcome had been decided. Grayson County was a solid 18-of-22 (82 percent) from the line for the game, including 16-of-19 in the second half.
After netting just two points in the first quarter, Cannaday finished with a game-high 23 points and Williams added 13 points and nine rebounds. Lively and Rodney Perdue both scored eight points to pace the Green Wave.
Narrows...................13 9 2 9––33
Grayson County......12 12 17 18––59
Narrows (9-9, 2-6)
Spangler 0 2-2 2, Perdue 3 2-3 8, Hall 2 0-0 4, Burton 3 0-9 6, Collins 0 2-4 2, Baker 0 1-2 1, Scott 0 0-2 0, Turner 0 0-2 0, Lively 3 4-5 8. Totals 11 11-30 33.
Grayson County (7-12, 4-3)
Williams 6 0-0 13, Cannaday 8 7-8 23, Hill 0 2-2 2, Rodgers 2 3-4 7, Davis 3 0-0 6, Goins 0 3-4 3, Hawks 0 1-2 1, Mitchell 1 2-2 4. Totals 20 18-22 59.
Three-point field goals – Narrows 0-9, Grayson County 1-8 (Cannaday). Rebounds – Narrows 29 (Spangler 6), Grayson County 43 (Williams 9). Turnovers – Narrows 17, Grayson County 17. Team fouls – Narrows 20, Grayson County22. Fouled out – Perdue. Technical fouls – none.
JV – Grayson County 34-24.