A 30-point explosion in the third quarter helped Carroll County stay undefeated Wednesday night, blasting Grayson County 81-61 in Hillsville.
The Blue Devils had given Carroll County (17-0, 5-0 SWD) its toughest game of the season on Dec. 21, a 74-73 overtime Cavalier victory in Independence in which Grayson County (11-5) led by 11 points in the fourth quarter. With Carroll County coming off a tough four-point road win at Abingdon the night before, and Grayson playing on eight days rest, the Blue Devils looked ripe to hand the Cavs their first loss of the season early on.
Making six of its first nine shots from the floor, Grayson raced out to a 15-10 lead before Carroll ended the opening quarter on a 15-2 run. Even so, the Blue Devils kept things tight, cutting the Cavalier advantage to 34-31 at the half on Landon Frost’s basket inside.
Then the third quarter started.
Connor Lundy and Chris Smoot combined to score 20 points in the third quarter alone as Carroll absolutely scorched the nets. Lundy drilled three 3-pointers in the frame, finishing with 13 of his 15 points in the third quarter, while Smoot scored all nine of his points in the third to extend the Cavalier lead to 20 points, 64-44 heading into the fourth.
‘That’s the best quarter we’ve played all year. We didn’t get to do what we wanted to do as far as trapping the ball (with Lundy and Cody Keith in first-half foul trouble),” Carroll County head coach Brad Hawks said. “We need to do a better job cutting off somebody else’s run early without burning all out timeouts. But in the second half we gave up one offensive rebound and I thought that was really good.”
Carroll opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run as Smoot and Lundy made back-to-back baskets before Lundy struck again with a 3-pointer for a 41-33 Cavalier edge. Carroll upped the cushion to 13 four minutes later as Lundy keyed a 7-0 run, sandwiching a driving shot off the glass and another long-range bomb around an Austin Horton basket. Later in the period, Lundy nailed his third 3-pointer of the quarter and Cody Keith scored off a Ryan Gravley assist to up the lead to 64-43.
“We came out ready to play in the second half and that is unusual for this bunch,” Hawks said. “We usually give up runs of seven or eight points in the third quarter.”
A Gunnar Beamer 3-pointer gave the Cavs their biggest lead at 71-46 early in the fourth to put the game to bed. With Lundy and Keith both in foul trouble, Reece made the most of extended minutes, scoring 13 points on a variety of nice post moves.
“Duncan came to play tonight. The kid rebounded and got good looks down low, got himself in position to score,” Hawks said. “He played well all the way through the second half and you can’t ask for more out of one your big guys.”
Gravley led the Cavaliers with 19 points, tying Grayson’s Ty Cannady for a game high. With Grayson playing so well early, Hawks was happy to see his team avoid a repeat of an almost identical situation last year, when the Cavs followed up a two-point win at Abingdon with a loss the next day against Pulaski County.
“Last year at Abingdon we had a big, emotional victory and went to Pulaski and laid an egg. I was real happy with the way the kids responded,” Hawks said. “That was one of the things I talked to them before the game about was ‘Let’s not pull that stunt this year. Let’s just worry about nothing but Grayson County. Abingdon is over, let’s put that to bed.’ I thought the guys did a good job of that against a Grayson County team that is hard to handle.”
Grayson 17..14..13..17 - 61
Carroll 25….9..30..17 - 81
Grayson County – Frost 1 0-0 2, Cannaday 6 6-6 19, Mi. Rodgers 4 0-0 10, Ma. Rodgers 6 2-3 15, Wyatt 4 0-0 8, Davis 1 0-0 2, Circle 2 1-2 5. 3-pointers – Mi. Rodgers 2, Cannaday 1, Ma. Rodgers 1.
Carroll County – Gravley 5 9-8 19, Smoot 3 2-2 9, Beamer 2 0-1 5, Lundy 6 0-0 15, Keith 1 0-0 2, Lineberry 1 2-4 4, Dalton 0 2-2 2, Reece 6 1-1 13, Horton 4 0-0 8, Snow 0 2-2 2, Holder 0 2-2 2. 3-pointers – Lundy 3, Gravley 1, Smoot 1, Beamer 1.