There would be no epic Hidden Valley comeback this time.
One year after blowing a 22-point lead on the same court to the Titans, Carroll County built a 16-point advantage Jan. 18, but made 12-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off another late Hidden Valley charge for a 68-62 victory in Hillsville. Trailing 52-36 late in the third, Hidden Valley (10-4, 6-1 River Ridge District) got as close as four points with 11.7 seconds left but Madisyn Dalton made two free throws to seal the victory.
“Hidden Valley does a great job trying to scramble and they get after it,” Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said. “They turn you over and they know how to score it quick.”
Carroll County (12-1, 7-0 River Ridge) trailed 30-29 late in the first half but Keely Lundy drilled two of her five first-half 3-pointers to close out the second quarter with the Cavs in front 35-30. Lundy’s hot shooting keyed a 23-6 run spanning the end of the second and much of the third period to help the Cavs increase the cushion to 52-36.
But the Titans scratched and clawed back into it, cutting the Carroll advantage to 62-52 midway through the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers then ran nearly two minutes off the clock before Mattie Kennedy was fouled with 2:12 left to play.
“We had a few turnovers we shouldn’t have late. I didn’t really make the decision to hold the basketball with four minutes to go but our kids were moving it and I am looking at the clock and we are at 2:15. We are not trying to hold it, but at that point I say, ‘Alright, let’s go, nothing but a layup at that point,’” Motley said. “We didn’t want to force anything. I think Mattie and Keely having the basketball in their hands, they know, hey, we’re not taking crazy shots right here. We are going to get something going to the bucket where we get fouled or we get a layup or a wide-open three. I think they took that upon themselves just being the smart players that they are. And our young kids follow suit. They’re just ready to do whatever it takes to help this team win.”
Carroll was able to hang on despite a monster game from Hidden Valley’s Drew Freeland. The Titans’ senior led all scorers with 30 points even though the Cavaliers focused most of their defensive attention on her.
“I don’t know that she took more than three really good shots. Every shot she took was contested I thought,” Motley said. “Madi (Dalton) and Kenda (Robinson) did a tremendous job. I am ecstatic with how they played against her. And I think you see where she gets 19 in the first half, 11 in the second because she is wore out, moving those kids back and forth on her, and I think they are just starting to wear her down a little bit because she never gets a break.”
Freeland and teammate Jordyn Sadler combined for 46 of Hidden Valley’s 62 points. Meanwhile, Keely Lundy led the Cavaliers with a season-high 25 points and Mattie Kennedy netted 19 in an epic scoring battle.
“Keely got hot in the first half and Mattie made free throws, she finished at the basket. When you’re playing really, really good teams you have to have your best players play, and tonight we had our best players play,” Motley said of Lundy and Kennedy. “You look at the points Sadler and Freeman had, 46, and look at what we had, 44, so that’s a toss-up. Well, I think my other five are better than his other five and they were tonight. That was the difference in the game.”
Lundy also came up big with five offensive rebounds, while Kennedy led Carroll with 11 total rebounds, four steals and four assists. Kennedy’s sister, freshman Abigail Kennedy, had three important offensive rebounds down the stretch in the midst of Hidden Valley’s late run.
“We got some offensive rebounds and to me that is just like a turnover. That is an extra possession and Abby Kennedy had some offensive rebounds that were huge,” Motley said. “As a freshman she is an extremely smart player. She is not going to catch that basketball and try to make a play. She is going to get that basketball out to her sister or to the guards and let them take care of the basketball.”
Motley said Carroll’s 68-62 win was the first time the Cavaliers have beaten Hidden Valley in Hillsville. It also broke a string of six of the previous eight games between the two teams that came down to the final possession. The win also puts Carroll in great position to earn the top seed in the Conference 24 playoffs as William Fleming has four losses and William Byrd has three losses.
“If we can take care of business we will be the one seed throughout the conference tournament just like we were last year,” Motley said. “I think we are playing really, really well right now. Mattie struggled a little bit scoring the basketball the last few games and I hope this gets her going. We are going to need her down the stretch. She was our best player on the floor down the stretch last year and she is still taking care of the basketball and distributing. She has more assists this year than she has ever had. Her scoring average is down but we are a better team because of it. She has decided to take it upon herself that, ‘I want to do what makes this team better,’ and I hope she keeps doing that.”
H. Valley 15 15 10 22 – 62
Carroll 20 15 19 14 – 68
Hidden Valley – Sadler 8 0-0 16, D. Freeland 11 5-6 30, S. Freeland 4 1-2 10, Gray 1 0-0 2, Smith 2 0-0 4. 3-pointers – D. Freeland 3, S. Freeland 1.
Carroll County – Lundy 7 6-6 25, Dalton 2 2-2 6, Gallimore 2 1-2 6, M. Kennedy 4 9-12 19, Carter 3 0-0 6, Holt 1 2-4 4, A. Kennedy 0 2-3 2. 3-pointers – Lundy 5, M. Kennedy 2, Gallimore 1.
Carroll Co. 61, Cave Spring 29
Keely Lundy made five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points Jan. 17 as Carroll County hammered Cave Spring 61-29 in a River Ridge District game in Roanoke.
Danielle Gallimore scored 10 points for the Lady Cavs and 10 different Carroll players scored in the victory. Mattie Kennedy added eight points and Jade Holt chipped in six for the Cavaliers. Cave Spring did not score more than nine points in any quarter.
Carroll 14 17 25 5 – 61
Cave S. 7 4 9 9 – 29
Carroll County – Lundy 5 2-4 17, Dalton 2 0-0 4, Caviness 1 0-0 2, Gallimore 4 0-1 10, Robinson 1 1-4 3, M. Kennedy 3 0-0 8, Giles 1 0-0 2, Carter 2 1-1 5, Holt 3 0-0 6, A. Kennedy 2 0-0 4. 3-pointers – Lundy 5, Gallimore 2, M. Kennedy 2.
Cave Spring – Williams 1 0-0 3, Delp 2 3-4 7, Barnhart 2 2-4 6, Pollard 1 0-0 2, Lachowicz 1 0-0 2, Foutz 1 0-0 2, Mooney 2 1-2 5, Landsman 0 2-2 2. 3-pointers – Williams 1.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN