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WYTHEVILLE –– It’s often said that a good defense is the best offense. Or maybe it’s that a good offense is the best defense. At any rate, for Galax Friday night, its best offense of the year enabled the Maroon Tide to play its best defensive game to date.
The Maroon Tide’s trapping full-court press frustrated George Wythe from the get-go, but the was Tide’s ability to score that enabled its to set up its press, and Galax throttled George Wythe 62-35 in a nondistrict game.
“Tonight was one of the first nights we were able to score out of our set offense and not have to rely on turnovers,” said Galax coach Yerrick Stoneman, whose team evened its record at 3-3 on the year. “Our press really was effective, whether or not we scored off of turnovers, we were able to get a lot of steals and slow them down, and then get into our sets.”
The Maroon Tide did score off of its defensive pressure but more importantly, it significantly limited the Maroons’ offensive chances. Galax made one less field goal in the first quarter - six - than did Wythe (1-5) in the first three periods as the Tide zoomed into a double-digit lead early in the second quarter.
Holding Wythe to 3-of-6 shooting and 12 turnovers in the first eight minutes, Galax strung together a 12-2 run late in the first period, highlighted by 3-pointers by Susan Davis and Paige Hanks, the latter of which sent the Tide into the second period with a 17-9 lead.
Sydney Lindsey’s putback to open the second, followed by a Davis transition basket, had Galax up 21-9 at the 5:47 mark of the second quarter. Wythe went without a field goal the entire second quarter and Galax strung together an 11-0 run, with all the scoring done by Lindsey and Carolyn Vaughan, to widen its lead to 21 points, 34-13, late in the first half.
Much of Wythe’s ineffectiveness on offense was due to the efforts of Holly Cassell, who was charged with the job of containing top Maroons threat Kristen Atwell. The Wythe post did managed 16 points, but hit only three field goals.
“The Atwell girl is a heck of a player and Holly really shut her down,” Stoneman said.
As a bonus, Cassell pumped in a career high 10 points, eight of those coming in the third period. Cassell used all her fouls corralling Atwell before fouling out in the third period.
“She made some open jumpshots,” Stoneman said. “They were doubling Syd, especially in the halfcourt press, and Syd was able to pass to the backside, and Holly made some shots.”
As did Hanks, who dropped in three 3-pointers and finished with a season-best 15 points, second only to Lindsey, who finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
“She had a big night,” Stoneman said of Hanks. “She hit a lot of open jumpers.”
The total effort translated into the Maroon Tide’s best showing of the year, which came at the beginning of a three-game week.
“I told the girls it was abut time,” said Stoneman. “Carroll [County] is a great team and we battled them [in a loss Friday], and we’re getting better and better each day. Hopefully we can carry it through the rest of the week. We’ve got two more big games this week and then a nice little Christmas break. Most of these girls came straight in from volleyball and they’re due a break.”
They certainly earned one Monday.
Galax...................17 17 14 14––62
George Wythe.......9 7 12 7––35
Davis 4 0-2 9, Ayers 0 0-2 0, Hanks 6 0-0 15, Pack 1 0-0 2, Vaughan 1 4-5 6, Cassell 5 0-0 10, Lindsey 7 7-9 23. Totals 24 11-20 62.
George Wythe (1-5)
Willis 1 0-0 2, Williams 1 0-0 2, Mabe 0 1-2 1, Wolford 2 0-0 4, Crigger 1 0-0 2, Coulson 1 2-2 4, Ransome 1 2-2 4, Atwell 3 10-12 16. Totals 10 15-20 35.
Three-point field goals – Galax 5-17 (Hanks 3 Davis, Lindsey), George Wythe 0-0. Rebounds – Galax 35 (Lindsey 12), George Wythe 37 (Atwell 10). Turnovers – Galax 21, George Wythe 33. Team fouls – Galax 14, George Wythe 16. Fouled out – Cassell. Technical fouls – none.
JV – George Wythe 29-24.