Although Carroll County’s girls’ basketball team has dropped its first two games to open the season, head coach Marc Motley has been pleased with how the Cavaliers have played against top-notch competition.
Opening the season with games against Patrick County and Floyd County, both ranked in the top 10 of the Timesland, the Lady Cavaliers dropped both games by five points. Battling early season injuries, especially in the post, the Cavaliers scrapped hard at Patrick on Nov. 27 before eventually falling 54-49. Two nights later, Carroll led an extremely talented Floyd County team in the fourth quarter before a late run lifted the Buffaloes to a 62-57 victory.
“This is great for us at the beginning of the season. Win or lose right now I am looking at kids that haven’t been in starting roles and now they are having to be leaders,” Motley said. “It’s just going to make us get better down the road by having played this caliber of competition.”
In the opener at Patrick, the Lady Cavs jumped out to a 5-0 lead before bogging down in what Motley called an ugly game. Officiating was called extremely tight with a total of 79 foul shots taken by both teams. Ultimately, poor shooting doomed Carroll against a much-bigger Cougars’ lineup.
“They play guards that are 5-9 and we don’t have a 5-9 kid dressed out right now. They put four on the floor that were 5-9 or better,” Motley said. “It’s not that we didn’t play well, but we didn’t shoot well. We are a perimeter-oriented team right now with our size and we shot 2 of 18 from 3-point range.”
Motley said the Cavaliers were able to stay in the game by attacking the basket when the outside shot wasn’t falling. Additionally, he was pleased to see his team shoot 71 percent from the free throw line.
Taylor Martin led the Cavaliers with 14 points, while Hayden Caldwell scored 12 and Michala Hash chipped in eight. Hannah Helbert’s 18 points led all scorers for Patrick County and Bri Dodson contributed 11.
“The game was called tight on both ends. We shot 38 free throws and they shot 41. It’s the first game of the year and your emotions are running and you are aggressive,” Motley said. “Neither team really adjusted to the officials, and that is something we have to do a better job of down the road.”
After falling behind early, Carroll County rallied to take a 44-43 lead over Floyd County heading into the fourth quarter on Nov. 28 in Hillsville. In the end though, the depth and press of the Buffaloes got to the Lady Cavs late in the game, Motley said.
“We shot the ball better and defended better, but Floyd County is a heck of a basketball team. To be leading them in the fourth quarter says a lot about our kids,” Motley said. “They played 14 kids and I’m not sure they didn’t get into our legs in the fourth quarter. They went on about a 7- or 8-point run at about the three or four minute mark when we were up two. That is what their press is designed to do, to wear you down. Right now we are a little thin with some injuries, but we are going to get there.”
Rachel Sellers had a monster game for Carroll, leading the team with 20 points and 11 rebounds. She shot 6 of 8 from the field and 8 of 10 from the charity stripe.
“She had a great game. She was the only kid in double figures, but we had five score between seven or nine points,” Motley said. “Cassidi McCann came back from a knee issue and played three minutes. She will help us quite a bit when she gets healthy. Right now everything is by committee.”
Carroll 12 7 13 17 - 49
Patrick 13 13 8 20 - 54
Carroll County – Martin 14, Caldwell 12, Hash 8, Guynn 6, Alderman 5, Sellers 4. 3-pointers – Caldwell 1, Guynn 1.
Patrick County – Helbert 18, Dodson 11, Whitt 9, Reylods 6, Mitchell 4, Wilkenson 3, Gammons 2, Owens 1. 3-pointers – Dodson 2.
Floyd 12 14 17 19 - 62
Carroll 6 16 22 13 - 57
Floyd County – E. Boothe 15, Phillips 11, Litton 10, Belshan 8, N. Boothe 5, Hollandsworth 4, Royal 3, Kuchenbuch 3, Worley 2, Colt 1. 3-pointers – E. Boothe 3, Litton 2, N. Boothe 1, Phillips 1, Belshan 1.
Carroll County – Sellers 20, Martin 9, Alderman 9, Hash 8, Guynn 7, Caldwell 2, McCann 2. 3-pointers – Alderman 3, Hash 2.