By virtue of winning a play-in game with Marion on Feb. 11, Carroll County’s JV boys’ basketball team earned a berth in the Southwest District Tournament Championship game with Richlands.
Carroll County (8-9, 5-3 SWD) tied with Marion for second place in the district standings, and both teams split the head-to-head matchups in the regular season. Carroll County JV coach Jay Holderfield said the Cavaliers were fortunate to be able to participate in a play-in game with the Scarlet Hurricanes.
“We had tied with Marion for second and we got lucky,” Holderfield said. “The rules in the district say it goes to a tiebreaker. They had us in the tiebreaker because they beat Richlands once, but when we had our district meeting they decided to let us play it.”
The Cavaliers made the most of the opportunity, beating Marion 45-33 at Marion to earn the right to play Richlands in the district championship game on Feb. 15 in Hillsville. In the first meeting, Marion won a one-point nail-biter in Hillsville, while the Cavs won by 12 in the rematch at Marion. In the rubber match, Carroll advanced thanks to some tenacious defense.
“Their point guard had two really big games against us. He scored 19 the first time and 15 points the second time,” Holderfield said. “We held him scoreless, which was big for us. We put Noah Johnson, Justin Light and Alan Bolen on him. All three shared responsibilities and shut them down. That was great. That was our game plan, to make somebody else beat us. They did a good job shutting him down.”
Additionally, Bolen provided the Cavaliers with an offensive spark from the guard position, leading the team with 14 points.
“Alan played great on the offensive boards and he was our leading scorer,” Holderfield said. “He had a really good all-around game.”
Holderfield said Carroll County has been playing its best ball of the season since a recent loss to Oak Hill’s JV team.
“Even though we lost, I think it was a turning point for the guys. They really came to play and started to mesh a lot better. Defensively we played them man-to-man the entire game and I was really proud of how we played,” Holderfield said. “And then we played really good against Tazewell at home on (Feb. 8), a good way to finish out the regular season. They are playing well right now. We will give Richlands our best shot. They are a good team. They are big and have a couple of kids that can shoot the ball really well.”