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INDEPENDENCE –– Grayson County rallied from a double-digit second-quarter deficit and rode another huge night by Mikaela Anders to a 74-69 win over Fort Chiswell in a key Mountain Empire District matchup Friday.
The win gives Grayson County (9-5 overall, 3-0 district) a three-game lead inthe win column over the Pioneers (6-5, 0-1), who were expected to have a serious shot at the MED championship this season.
After a hot start, the Blue Devils watched a five-point second-quarter lead turn into a 10-point hole before reaching halftime, but battled back into a 50-50 tie on Kayla Spurlin’s stickback to start the fourth period.
Three ties later, a Joyelle Combs 3-pointer for Grayson was answered by a three-point play by Fort’s Kendra Vaughan, and the Pioneers took a 65-61 lead on a pair of Paige Quesenberry foul shots with 2:55 to go.
Anders, who had scored a career-best 35 points four nights earlier, hit a pair of buckets to knot the game at 65. Vaughan’s two foul shots for Fort Chiswell were answered by an Anders score off an inbounds play, and the Pioneers took their final lead – and scored their final points of the night – on freshman Nancy Thacker’s pull-up jumper from just inside the foul line with 1:03 remaining.
Anders countered that score as well, knotting the game for the seventh time in the final quarter, 69-69.
Spurlin sank a free throw with 37 seconds left to give Grayson the lead for good. The missed second foul shot went out of bounds off of a Pioneer, and Spurlin drove and dished off to Anders, who scored and hit a foul shot for a three-point play and a 73-69 lead.
The Blue Devils shot 50 percent from the floor (15-of-30) in the second half, holding the Pioneers to 8-of-28 shooting, including 0-for-6 on 3-pointers. Grayson County also held a 27-15 rebounding edge after the break.
Two Combs 3-pointers helped spot the Blue Devils an 18-12 lead late in the first quarter, and two Anders free throws had the Devils leading 25-20 at 5:41 of the second period. Fort Chiswell scored the next 12 points unanswered and closed the half on a 20-7 run, starting with a Quesenberry 3-pointer at the 5:34 mark. Vaughan’s 3-pointer had Fort Chiswell leading 32-25 before Megan Funk broke Grayson’s scoring drought. Combs scored from the lane just before the half to keep Grayson County within single digits, down 40-32.
Anders broke her own career best with 38 points, including 16-of-21 shooting from the foul line, and pulled down 14 rebounds. Combs nailed three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points.
Vaughan was a perfect 14-of-14 from the foul line for the bulk of her 23 points for the Pioneers. Quesenberry added 16 points and Thacker tossed in 13.
The two teams combined for 41 fouls, 62 free throws and four disqualifications.
Fort Chiswell 15 25 10 19––69
Grayson County 18 14 16 26––74
Fort Chiswell (6-5, 0-1)
Thacker 6 0-0 13, Quesenberry 5 4-5 16, Pinnix 3 3-4 9, Arnold 1 0-0 2, Hamm 1 2-4 4, K.Vaughan 4 14-14 23, Worrell 1 0-1 2. Totals 21 23-28 69.
Grayson County (9-5, 3-0)
Spurlin 2 3-4 8, T.Blevins 2 1-3 5, Combs 5 0-0 13, T.Vaughan 3 1-1 8, Anders 11 16-21 38, Funk 1 0-1 2. Totals 24 22-34 74.
Three-point field goals – Fort Chiswell 4-21 (Quesenberry 2, Thacker, Vaughan), Grayson County 4-12 (Combs 3, Vaughan). Rebounds – Fort Chiswell 35 (Pinnix 7), Grayson County 47 (Anders 14). Turnovers – Fort Chiswell 18, Grayson County 27. Steals – Fort Chiswell 16 (Vaughan 7), Grayson County 9 (Anders 3). Team fouls – Fort Chiswell 23, Grayson County 18. Fouled out – Thacker, Hamm, K.Vaughan, Combs. Technical fouls – None.
JV – Grayson County 29-24.