A loss to your rival is almost never a good thing, but for Carroll County’s boys’ basketball team, this year may be the exception. One week removed from a 45-42 loss to Galax in the Fort Chiswell Christmas Tournament, the Cavaliers won their third straight game Jan. 4, hammering the Maroon Tide 50-30 in Hillsville.
Carroll County (6-4, 1-2 River Ridge District) beat Galax 39-34 at Galax on Dec. 16, but put forth what head coach Tee Jackson described as a disappointing effort against the Tide at Fort Chiswell. Since that game, the Cavaliers have reeled off three straight victories, including a blowout of the Maroon Tide in the rubber match of the season series.
“They deserved to beat us over there that day. We didn’t act like we wanted to be there and they got every loose ball and every rebound and they handled the ball really well against our press and they just outplayed us over there,” Jackson said of the Dec. 28 loss to Galax. “The last couple of games we have kind of gotten things turned around. I think potentially losing to Galax last week was kind of a wakeup call for these guys and they realized the type of effort that has to be put forth to be successful. The last few games they’ve done what we asked them to.”
Galax certainly had the Cavaliers’ attention in the third meeting of the two teams this year. Carroll came out sharp and focused, basically ending the contest before it even started with a 15-0 run over the first 5:05 of the game. Defensively, the Cavs forced three turnovers and Garret Haynes blocked two shots during that span as the Maroon Tide missed their first eight shots from the floor.
Meanwhile, the Cavalier offense was on fire in the first quarter. Carroll County opened the game by making its first four shots of the contest – all 3-pointers. Brogan Bowman hit three of the four trifectas with teammate Adam Horton adding one for good measure. Haynes also added an old-fashioned 3-point play to put the Cavs up 15-0 with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
“I think when we played them last week we were 5-for-25 from three, which is just awful. Tonight we came out and it was a sight for sore eyes to see some shots go in. We struggle to score, we have all year, so that was fantastic to get off to good start. And once they see the ball go in they kind of relax a little bit and the basket gets a little bigger,” Jackson said. “I think he (Brogan Bowman) had his career high tonight, which for a senior the last time playing Galax was big. He works so hard. I don’t think he has missed a single workout from the time I started in July. He was there every morning before school and there every night when we had open gym, so I was really happy for him.”
It took Galax more than six-and-a-half minutes to get on the board as Matt Lundy’s 3-pointer with 1:24 left in the first quarter ended Carroll’s 15-0 start. Micah Johnson would go on to add a pair of driving layups to make it 19-5 after eight minutes.
The onslaught would continue in the second quarter as the Cavs built the lead to 20 points. Caden Hodges added a pair of layups, Landon Williams scored on a steal and layup, and Horton added another 3-pointer to make it 28-8 with two minutes left in the half. Carroll’s defense limited Galax to 19 percent shooting (4-of-21) in the first two quarters.
“We had a meeting before (we played) Floyd and just talked about what this program has been about, the type of community we are in,” Jackson said. “It is a hard-working, blue-collar community and that is the type of team we need to be successful because we don’t have the most talent in the River Ridge District. I think that message got through. The last couple of games they certainly played that way.”
Haynes, Carroll’s big post player, was a major part of that against Galax. While he only scored three points against the Tide, he grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots, setting the tone for the Cavalier defense in the first half.
“The way Galax defends him, they do a great job of limiting him. I think his worst three games scoring-wise have come against Galax because they collapse two and three defenders on him every time he catches it,” Jackson said. “But he did a great job finding other ways to impact the game, blocked shots or getting rebounds or making the right pass. It’s hard sometimes when you are not scoring, but I am proud of him for sticking with it and finding other ways to impact the game.”
Carroll’s lead grew to as much as 22 points in the second half. Micah Johnson scored 10 points, but facilitated the Cavalier offense with six assists and just one turnover. Bowman added a career-high 11 points and Horton continued his fine play, leading all scorers with 17 points.
“Adam has really turned it on. The last three games he has played great. He has been our leading scorer the last three nights,” Jackson said. “He is rebounding, he is scoring and finding ways to get shots in good places within our offense, which has really helped us the last three games.”
Galax 5 5 14 6 – 30
Carroll 19 9 17 5 – 50
Galax – Lundy 3 0-0 9, Robinson 5 0-4 12, Ashworth 1 1-1 3, Hutchens 2 0-0 4, Bryson 1 0-0 2. 3-pointers – Lundy 3, Robinson 2.
Carroll – M. Johnson 3 3-4 10, Bowman 3 2-2 11, Horton 7 0-1 17, Edwards 0 1-2 1, Hodges 3 0-0 6, Haynes 1 1-1 3, Williams 1 0-0 2. 3-pointers – Bowman 3, Horton 3, M. Johnson 1.
Carroll Co. 44, Salem 40
Adam Horton, Micah Johnson and Garret Haynes all scored in doubles figures Jan. 3 as Carroll County defeated Salem 44-40 in Hillsville for its first River Ridge District win of the season.
Horton led Carroll County (5-4, 1-2 River Ridge District) with 15 points. Micah Johnson drilled a pair of 3-pointers and added 12 points, while Haynes scored 10. The Cavaliers trailed 28-20 at the half, but outscored Salem (2-7, 1-2 River Ridge District) 17-6 in the third quarter to take a 37-34 lead.
Carroll County held on down the stretch to secure the district victory. Shane Simpson led the Spartans with 15 points and Baylor Mabes scored 11 for Salem.
Salem 11 17 6 6 — 40
Carroll 11 9 17 7 — 44
Salem – Simpson 15, Mabes 11, Donaldson 6, Dodd 6, Tucker 2. 3-pointers – Dodd 1, Mabes 1.
Carroll County – Horton 15, M. Johnson 12, Haynes 10, Hodges 5, Williams 2. 3-pointers – M. Johnson 2.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN