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Lawrence Parsons could have dogged it the final three quarters and still had a pretty good game. But he played it out and had an outstanding one.
Totaling eight points, six blocked shots and five rebounds well before the end of the first period, Parsons gave Galax a boost from the start as the Maroon Tide took a surprisingly easy 75-46 win over Fort Chiswell in a key Mountain Empire District boys’ game Tuesday.
The Pioneers were viewed as a big test by Galax coach Verl Brown, whose Maroon Tide (6-0 overall, 2-0 district) has been on the floor half as many times as Fort Chiswell (9-3, 1-1) due to a lengthy run in the football playoffs.
“Knowing they’ve got four starters back, and seeing how many they scored on Grayson the other night, I was concerned going in that we could score,” Brown said. “Defensively I’ve felt pretty good about us all year, but offensively we’ve had some questions.”
If there was to be an adjustment period for the Tide against the high-energy style of Fort Chiswell, Parsons shortened it, if not eliminated it entirely with his big start, scoring six of Galax's first eight points, including a dunk.
Holding a 10-point lead most of the second quarter, Galax blew the thing open in the third. Leading 39-27 with 4:20 left in the quarter, the Maroon Tide’s transition game kicked into high gear and led to a 17-5 run over the next 3:21. Travis Garvey finished two fast breaks to start the run, Deion George had a driving layup and then hit a 3-pointer, followed by transition baskets by Jordan Vaughan, Eddie Hanks and Parsons as the Galax lead ballooned to 56-32 entering the fourth quarter.
“Our game is going to be scoring off of our defense,” Brown said. “We don’t have Justin [Hash] standing out there knocking them down. Most of our practice yesterday was spent breaking the different kinds of presses. When we did what we were supposed to, we looked good.”
Fort Chiswell gave the Tide plenty of chances to run, missing its first nine shots from the floor in the second half and going just 2-for-20 in the third period. The Pioneers would shoot a frosty 21.6 percent (16-for-76) from the floor on the night while Galax was over 55 percent, going 32-of-58.
Galax spent the fourth quarter knocking down two shots for every one by the Pioneers. Back-to-back 3-pointers by reserve guard Trevor Quesenberry pushed the lead past 30 points, 75-43, in the final minute.
Brown is finally starting to see his team getting its basketball legs under it.
“I can really start to see the fluidness a little bit,” he said. “From two weeks ago, I’m feeling a lot better about this bunch. I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get any better.”
Parsons continues his transformation from the mere physical presence of a year ago into a dominant big man this season for Galax. The 6-foot-6 senior finished with a triple double, scoring 13 points to go with 12 rebounds and 10 rejections. Pack led the Maroon Tide with 17 points and Devonte McKinney added 13 points.
Nathaniel Worrell led all scorers with 18 points for the Pioneers, who got 12 boards from Corey Gravely.
Fort Chiswell......10 12 9 14––46
Galax...................16 18 22 19––75
Fort Chiswell (9-4, 1-1)
Mooney 1 0-1 2, C.Mabry 2 0-3 4, Gravely 3 3-4 9, B.Mabry 2 0-0 5, Hamm 0 2-2 2, Perry 1 0-0 2, Sharp 0 0-0 0, Thomas 1 2-4 4, Worrell 6 4-5 18. Totals 16 11-19 46.
Galax (6-0, 2-0)
Peoples 0 0-0 0, Hanks 4 0-0 10, Fisher 0 0-0 0, Vaughan 1 0-0 2, Pack 7 3-5 17, George 4 0-1 9, Quesenberry 2 0-0 6, Garvey 2 0-0 4, Gable 0 0-0 0, McKinney 5 3-7 13, Parsons 7 0-0 14, Kohl 0 0-0 0. Totals 32 6-13 75.
Three-point field goals – Fort Chiswell 3-11 (Worrell 2, B.Mabry), Galax 5-11 (Hanks 2, Quesenberry 2, George). Rebounds – Fort Chiswell 50 (Gravely 11), Galax 43 (Parsons 12). Turnovers – Fort Chiswell 18, Galax 18. Team fouls – Fort Chiswell 13, Galax 11. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.
JV – Galax won.