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HILLSVILLE –– Some came hoping to see an upset. Others may have come looking for a blowout. Everyone went home having witnessed a very good, entertaining basketball game.
Galax overcame a sluggish start, rallied into the lead before halftime and trailed by just five points with less than four minutes to go before Carroll County pulled away for a 54-44 nondistrict win in a girls’ game Wednesday night.
Having survived a big Carroll County run to open the game, the Maroon Tide was eventually done in by a couple more small rallies by the Cavaliers (5-4). A 10-2 spurt gave Carroll a 38-28 lead with 2:32 left in the third, but Galax (4-6) held the Cavaliers scoreless for nearly for minutes in stringing together an 8-2 run, capped by Jill Bartlett’s jumper for a 40-36 score with 6:46 to play.
“We didn’t play bad,” Carroll County coach Marc Motley said. “They hurt us rebounding, but you’ve got to give credit to Galax. They played well tonight. Our pressure rattled them early and at spots during the game, but they gathered themselves and handled our press, and when they got open shots they knocked them down. They didn’t panic.”
Rachel Dalton hit a foul shot and then nailed a 3-pointer, ending a string of 13 straight Cavalier misses from long range, for a 44-36 lead at 5:42 of the fourth.
But once again, Galax clawed back in it. Two free throws each by Bailey Shumate and Jamie Webb had Galax down just 44-39 at the 4:42 mark, but five Cavalier foul shots and a Cydnie Cornell layup widened the gap to 11 points, 51-40, with 2:12 left.
“The press bothered us a little bit more than I thought it should have, but we handled a very tight man to man very well, we just didn’t get it done down the stretch,” said Galax coach Jamie Dotson. “I’m not disappointed.”
“They packed it in and left us open shots on the perimeter and we shot about 4 out of 18 from the 3-point line,” Motley said. “Fortunately we had the lead late and were able to get a few buckets and some free throws.”
Starting three freshmen, Galax could have panicked early as the more experienced Cavaliers pressed their way to a quick nine-point lead. Kayla Goins drained a pair of 3-pointers for a 12-4 lead, and Rachel Dalton’s steal and layup had the Cavs ahead 15-6. Dalton added a trey late in the first, but Galax hung close with two Allison White baskets and a long jumper by Shumate, trailing 18-12 after one.
Galax took its only lead of the night when Channing Russell’s 3-pointer put the Tide up 25-24 before driving layups by Cornell and Goins sent the Cavaliers into the half leading 30-26.
“I was really happy with our intensity, even though we were playing a zone, and the way we attacked them on offense,” said Dotson. “We had 18 turnovers in the first half. I don’t know what we had for the game, but turnovers lost the game.”
The Goins bucket started what would evolve into a 10-2 spurt into the third period. Cornell scored on a stickback and then on a transition layup, and Mary Alden Jones’ drive to the hoop put Carroll ahead 38-28 before Galax staged the first of its second-half comebacks.
“I think our experience was the difference,” Motley said. “We handled the ball well, we made some runs when we had to have them, and I just think our experience got to them a little bit.”
“I think we got a little tired,” said Dotson. “We’re down to nine players and we’re not able to sub five at a time. But everybody came in and contributed in a positive way.”
Goins led Carroll with 14 points, Cornell scored 13 and Dalton added 10. Webb and Shumate scored a dozen each for Galax, and White grabbed 10 rebounds.
Galax 12 14 6 12––44
Carroll County 18 12 8 16––54
Shumate 4 4-6 12, Russell 1 0-0 3, White 3 3-7 9, Webb 2 8-11 12, Bobbitt 1 0-0 2, Bryant 1 0-0 2, Bartlett 2 0-0 4, Simmons 0 0-0 0, Cardwell 0 0-2 0. Totals 14 15-26 44.
Carroll County (5-5)
M.A. Jones 1 0-0 2, Goins 4 3-4 14, Cornell 6 1-4 13, Dickens 0 1-2 1, Viars 3 2-2 8, Dalton 3 2-4 10, Hill 0 3-4 3, K.Goad 0 0-0 0, Neely 0 0-2 0, Ayers 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 3-4 3. Totals 17 15-26 54.
Three-point field goals – Galax 1-8 (Russell), Carroll County 4-20 (Dalton 2, Goins 2). Rebounds – Galax 36 (White 10), Carroll County 30 (Viars 7). Turnovers – Galax 26, Carroll County 14. Steals – Galax 6 (White 3), Carroll County 13 (Goins 4). Team fouls – Galax 21, Carroll County 19. Fouled out – Goins. Technical fouls – Carroll County bench.
JV – Carroll County 60-17.