For the first time in school history, Carroll County is the Fort Chiswell Christmas Tournament champion.
Saving its vaunted press for late in the game, the Cavaliers rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat Radford 68-58 in the championship game Saturday night at Fort Chiswell High School.
“The kids stuck to the game plan tonight and trusted in each other,” said Carroll County head coach Brad Hawks. “When they faced adversity -like at Grayson when we got down 11 - we got down 11 tonight in the third quarter, but kept believing in each other.”
Many Carroll County (9-0) fans wondered before the game how the Cavaliers would defend Radford’s potent offense and four-guard lineup. While Carroll’s press is usually its bread and butter, the Bobcats figured to have the ability to score easy points against the Cavaliers if they decided to turn up the heat. It didn’t play out that way as Carroll’s press turned things around in the second half.
“We wanted to lull them to sleep, and once the time was right we threw the press on them and got several points in transition,” Hawks said. “I have to admit, this one worried me a little bit. From one to eight, this is the toughest lineup I have ever coached or played against in the Christmas Tournament.”
Although Carroll rolled past George Wythe and Fort Chiswell to move to 8-0 and advance to the championship game of the Fort Chiswell Christmas Tournament for the first time since 2007, the Cavs had not faced a team as powerful as Radford (8-2) this season. The Bobcats, ranked fourth in the preseason in the Timesland, came into the game with several quality wins, including sweeps of Pulaski County and Christiansburg and wins over Cave Spring and Blacksburg.
“They’re just a tough lineup. Connor Lundy, our leading scorer went down about a minute into the game with a twisted ankle. They played four guards and Chris Smoot had to play the whole game without a break, but he played great,” Hawks said. “He should have made the all-tournament team. Our defensive rebounding was much better.”
With Lundy out, several Cavaliers picked up the scoring slack. Ryan Gravley led Carroll with 23 points, while Gunnar Beamer had 12 and Duncan Reece and Austin Horton each had 11.
“Cody Keith had a great game. He was active, deflected a bunch of balls on the press and he had a real nasty dunk in the second half,” Hawks said. “Several others picked up the scoring. Gunnar had some great moves. We spread them out and ran four corners the last six minutes of the ball game and made free throws.”
Gravley went 13-of-14 from the line, while the team finished 30-of-38 from the charity stripe.
Radford 13 16 16 13 - 58
Carroll18 10 17 23 - 68
Carroll Co. 64, Ft. Chiswell 46
Carroll County outscored Fort Chiswell by 14 points in the second half Friday to pull away for a 64-46 win in the semifinals of the Fort Chiswell Christmas Tournament.
Gravley led all scorers with 15 points and Beamer tossed in 14 more to help the Cavaliers advance. Smoot also cracked double figures with 12 points. After falling behind 34-33, Carroll ended the third quarter on a 17-7 run to go ahead 51-40. The Cavs then outscored the Pioneers 13-6 to advance to the championship round.
Carroll16 13 22 13 - 64
Fort C. 9 16 15 6 - 46
Carroll County – Gravley 15, Beamer 14, Smoot 12, Lundy 8, Keith 6, Reece 4, Horton 3, Holder 2. 3-pointers – Gravley 1, Smoot 1, Lundy 1, Beamer 1.
Fort Chiswell – Hamm 10, Thomas 10, Mooney 6, Mabry 2, Hovencamp 6, Rathbone 2, Stoneman 2, Perry 4, Ale 2, Widelo 2. 3-pointers – Hovencamp 2, Mooney 1.