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BUENA VISTA –– Scoring one point in the first 10 minutes didn’t spell doom for Galax. Getting none the final 5:36 did.
While Bath County experienced its own scoring struggles, the Chargers’ shooting was the lesser of two evils Saturday as the Pioneer District champs held on for a 32-29 win in the Region C Division 1 girls’ championship game at Parry McCluer High School.
Both teams move on to state quarterfinal play, with Galax traveling to Bristol for a noon matchup Saturday with Region D champion J.I. Burton at Virginia High’s Bearcat Den. Bath County takes on Castlewood at the Salem Civic Center.
“The first quarter we were awful,” said Galax coach Yerrick Stoneman. “We had decent looks, but their 1-3-1 extended us out too far. They were big and long and it forced us to play on the perimeter too much.”
Galax (14-13) not only survived an 0-for-15 start to the game but also had taken the lead before the end of the first half. The Maroon Tide took its last lead – and scored its last points – with 5:36 left in the game as Taylor Bryant hit two jumpers followed by a Hailey Cassell 3-pointer to cap a 7-0 run for a 29-28 advantage.
Jailyn Ford’s stickback with 2:16 to play – Bath’s first points in more than six minutes – put the Chargers (19-7) back in front to stay.
Kayla Baugh rebounded a partially-blocked Tide shot with 11 seconds remaining and Galax had to commit four fouls, eating up six precious seconds, to put the Chargers at the foul line.
Angela Herscher calmly drilled both ends of a one-and-one with 5.2 ticks left for the final margin.
Galax was not yet in the bonus and was expecting Bath County to foul on the inbounds to prevent a 3-point attempt. The Tide tried to snooker its way into a three-shot foul by catching and firing from three-quarters court, but a non-shooting foul was called and Galax could only manage one more 70-foot attempt at the horn.
“Those final two minutes, they kept their composure because they have been in this situation before, so that made the difference,” said Bath County coach Keith Lindsay.
Allison White’s free throw with 2:31 left in the first quarter was the only thing between Galax and a first-quarter shutout, but Bath County only managed seven points in the first quarter as the two teams combined to go 3-for-30 from the floor.
The Chargers led 9-1 on a Ford shot from the wing to start the second period before the Maroon Tide came to life. Bryant hit a 20-footer for Galax’s first field goal at the 6:29 mark of the second and Shumate swished her own 3-pointer 30 seconds later.
“We started going to the high post and making some moves from there, which opened up the outside for the 3-pointers from where we like to shoot them,” Stoneman said. “We made a few and battled back.”
Galax caught up with the Chargers at 9-9 with 4:21 left in the half on two Shumate foul shots and took its first lead, 11-10, on a Channing Russell shot from the wing before the half ended in a 14-all deadlock.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Alexa Faraone and a baseline jumper from Hannah Robertson sent the Chargers into the fourth with a 28-22 lead.
Galax had the only two double-figure scorers on the night, Shumate with 11 points and Bryant with 10. Baugh had nine points and 10 rebounds for the Chargers while Ford grabbed 12 boards to go with four points.
“A big game like this we were a little nervous to start out, but the good thing is we’ve had three or four games like this, a nice-sized crowd, so hopefully come Saturday we’ll be ready to come out and play,” said Stoneman.
“We expect J.I. Burton to come out and press us, and we’re a better team against a press than we are when people try to slow us down, so hopefully we’ll be ready.”
Galax..................1 13 8 7––29
Bath County......7 7 14 4––32
Shumate 3 2-2 11, Russell 1 0-0 2, White 0 3-4 3, Bryant 4 0-0 10, Cassell 1 0-0 3. Totals 9 5-6 29.
Bath County (19-7)
Herscher 1 2-2 4, Riley 0 1-2 1, Baugh 3 3-4 9, Robertson 2 0-4 4, Ford 2 0-1 4, Faraone 3 0-0 8, O’Conner 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 6-13 32.
Three-point field goals – Galax 6-23 (Shumate 3, Bryant 2, Cassell), Bath County 2-10 (Faraone 2). Rebounds – Galax 35 (White 9), Bath County 40 (Ford 12). Turnovers – Galax 18, Bath County 14. Team fouls – Galax 13, Bath County 9. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.