Danielle Gallimore and Mariah Carter keyed an 11-0 Cavalier run in the fourth quarter as Carroll County avenged an early-season loss to Galax with a 63-52 win Dec. 13 in Hillsville.
Carroll County (3-1), which lost to the Maroon Tide 62-52 on Dec. 1, was locked in a tight battle with Galax in a rematch that featured 12 lead changes and six ties. After Essence Brown knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 50-all with six minutes to play, Gallimore put Carroll in front for good with a dagger of a 3-pointer from close to the volleyball line. Carter then scored inside and followed it with a 3-pointer of her own on the next Cavalier possession. Then, Gallimore knocked down another triple, giving Carroll a 61-50 lead with 2:44 to play to complete the decisive 11-0 run.
“I told my kids before the game (Galax) came out at their place and just kicked us square in the mouth and we didn’t respond. I said, ‘What is it going to be like today? Are you going to be the one getting kicked again or are you going to kick yourself?’ Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said. “And I thought for the most part we came out and played hard all four quarters. We were trying to wear them down a little bit and I thought we got into their legs just a little bit about midway through the fourth quarter. Some of it may have been a little mental because Danielle hit that big three and we come back and Mariah hits a big three and I feel like then they are trying to do some things that they are not comfortable doing.”
The Maroon Tide missed shots on their next two possessions and turned the ball over on the third, allowing Carroll to run the clock down to under a minute before Galax began to foul. The Cavaliers finished the game on a 13-2 run in the final six minutes.
“Give them credit. When you are shooting a couple that are 25 footers with hands up and they are knocking them down, they were the better team on that particular play,” Galax head coach Howard Mayo said. “They are a good team, they are well-coached and their kids play hard. Against a team like that you have got to take advantage of your opportunities.”
Just like in the first game between the two teams when she scored 18 points, Galax’s Essence Brown gave the Cavaliers plenty of problems in the paint with her play-making ability. She finished with 22 points Wednesday.
The Maroon Tide led 12-8 after one quarter and opened up their biggest lead at 35-30 early in the third after a basket by Ivette Carlos. Abigail Kennedy and Mariah Carter combined to score the next six points, however, to push Carroll back in front. A Madi Dalton free throw made it 46-41 in the final minute of the third.
The Cavs were up by four at 50-46 early in the fourth before Brown scored four of her game-high 22 points for Galax to tie the game for a 12th time. At that point, Gallimore and Carter took over offensively. Gallimore connected on two of her four 3-pointers in the crucial 11-0 run. She nearly finished with a triple-double, leading Carroll in scoring (17 points), assists (nine) and rebounds (seven).
“It’s hard to get on your point guard for not getting a rebound one time when she leads you in rebounding. I will have to apologize to her for that. She is really gutsy kid,” Motley joked after the game. “This is her third year with me and she went through some growing pains her sophomore year, didn’t get to play a whole lot. She worked her rear-end off between her sophomore and junior year, earned herself a starting spot last year and started all but two or three games for us last year. And I saw it in the future she was going to be our point guard. And fortunately for us, Laken Alley has really emerged as a good ball-handler for us. She was in that spot Danielle was in last year. Didn’t get to play many minutes…And now she gets her opportunity and she is out there basically running the show for us. And if I can keep her at the one, I can get Danielle a lot more shots. That was huge for us that Laken come out and ran the one and Danielle popped up for a three a couple of times and knocked them down.”
Two key factors in Carroll winning the rematch were free throw shooting and turnovers. On Wednesday, the Cavs turned the ball over just 10 times compared to 20 for the Maroon Tide. In the first game, Galax knocked down a whopping 26 of 29 free throw attempts. In the rematch, the Tide made just 9 of 19 from the charity stripe.
“There were several times where we just didn’t make a good basketball play. We knew the pressure was coming and we were prepared for it, we just have to do a better job executing it,” Mayo said. “Tonight (our free throw shooting) was average. To go from shooting 80-some percent to 50-some percent makes a big difference in a ballgame like that.”
Aside from Gallimore’s huge game, Carroll also got big nights from Carter and Madi Dalton. Carter finished with 16 points, while Dalton scored 11 and collected a whopping seven steals. Motley said Carroll didn’t do anything differently schematically against Galax from the first match.
“I think our kids came ready to play. (Galax is) a really, really good basketball team. Their first five kids can flat out play and I thought we did a tremendous job on Brown and she still scored 22 points. I am not sure she had more than one or two open looks all night,” Motley said. “They do a really good job isolating her. And there in the fourth quarter when we got that lead we were almost in a pack-line where we were trying to get one foot in the paint unless we were guarding the basketball so we could get more help…We wanted to make them take long shots to beat us, at least make tough shots.”
Galax 12 19 12 9 – 52
Carroll 8 22 16 17 – 63
Galax – Elmasry 2 0-0 4, Brady 4 3-6 11, Carlos 1 0-0 2, Brown 9 2-2 22, Cassell 1 3-7 6, Foxx 3 1-4 7. 3-pointers – Brown 2, Cassell 1.
Carroll County – Dalton 3 4-6 11, Gallimore 5 3-4 17, Robinson 2 0-0 4, Alley 1 0-0 3, Giles 2 0-0 4, Carter 7 1-2 16, Kennedy 4 0-2 8. 3-pointers – Gallimore 4, Dalton 1, Alley 1, Carter 1.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN