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HILLSVILLE –– It was basketball’s version of a dive play on fourth-and-goal at the 1.
Grayson County’s Mikey Rodgers took an inbounds pass at midcourt with 3.8 seconds left and barged through the Carroll County defense, rolling in a layup at the buzzer to lift the Blue Devils to a 70-68 win in a nondistrict boys’ game Wednesday night.
“They were in a [1-3-1] zone, and we just gave it to our best penetrator and hoped he would get to the hole,” Grayson County coach Lucas Austin said after his team improved to 6-3. “The thing just barely crept over the rim.”
The play capped a frenzied final six minutes that started with the Cavaliers erasing a nine-point deficit in a little less than 90 seconds. Trailing 59-50, Carroll County (5-5) scored eight unanswered points, including a 3-pointer and then two free throws by Ryan Gravley for a 59-58 game at the 4:21 mark.
Caleb Taylor swiped the inbounds pass following Gravley’s second foul shot but the Cavaliers missed three times underneath with a chance to take the lead.
Connor Lundy’s putback did tie the game at 62 for Carroll, but Adam Cornett nailed 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor as the Devils edged ahead 68-64.
“Those were daggers,” Austin said.
Mac Martin’s stickback evened the score at 68 with 1:22 to go, and following a Grayson turnover, the Cavaliers held the final 50 seconds for a last shot.
Martin’s short jumper rolled off the rim and the Blue Devils called timeout at midcourt to set up the winning play.
“They did what we expected,” Cavalier coach Brad Hawks said. “Rodgers just made a heck of a play. He got around the wing and then went by our back guy and scooped it in. I can’t fault our effort, we just needed to get in somebody’s way on that last play.”
Grayson County took its largest lead of the night, 42-31, as Cornett ripped a pair of treys in an 8-0 Blue Devil run early in the second half. The lead evaporated when Martin scored six points in an 8-0 Carroll run, but a technical foul on the Cavaliers sparked a 9-4 Grayson spurt ending with Eric Harvey’s inside bucket for a 51-43 lead after three periods.
Lundy’s fifth 3-pointer of the night pulled the Cavaliers to within five early in the fourth before Grayson went back in front 59-50.
The Blue Devils had topped the Cavaliers 68-60 a week earlier in the Fort Chiswell Christmas tournament.
“I think they picked up more on us than we did on them,” Austin said. “They were prepared for us. They’re well-coached, and Brad’s got his program on the rise. They packed it in and kept it out of Eric’s hands, and they were going to make us beat them from the outside.”
Harvey had just nine points at halftime, but his game was opened up as the Cavaliers went to a full-court trap in the second half in an effort to gain ground. Harvey finished with 25 points to lead all scorers, Cornett scored 14 and Rodgers finished with 13.
Gravley led the Cavaliers with 18 points and Lundy tossed in 17 for Carroll County. Martin added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Grayson County......16 14 21 19––70
Carroll County.........17 8 20 23––68
Grayson County (6-3)
Rutherford 1 0-0 3, Frost 1 2-2 4, Rodgers 6 1-2 13, Rudy 1 1-4 3, Cornett 5 0-0 14, Cannaday 3 1-2 8, Harvey 8 9-12 25. Totals 25 14-21 70.
Carroll County (5-5)
Gravley 5 6-6 18, C.Smoot 2 2-2 6, Taylor 0 0-1 0, Lundy 6 0-0 17, Martin 7 1-2 15, W.Smoot 3 0-0 6, Horton 1 2-4 4, Snow 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 11-15 68.
Three-point field goals – Grayson County 6-18 (Cornett 4, Rutherford, Cannaday), Carroll County 7-19 (Lundy 5, Gravley 2). Rebounds – Grayson County 30 (Harvey 8), Carroll County 42 (Martin 11). Turnovers – Grayson County 16, Carroll County 16. Team fouls – Grayson County 16, Carroll County 22. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – W.Smoot.
JV – Carroll County 55-24.