Carroll County opened Tuesday’s Region 4D Semifinal on a 17-0 run and never took the foot of the gas, destroying Blacksburg 56-19 in Hillsville to advance to Thursday’s regional championship and earn a bid to the Group 4A State Tournament for the third consecutive year.
Even though the game was played in unusual spring-like weather for mid-February, the Bruins failed to come out of hibernation – scoring just seven points in the first half and shooting just 21 percent (8-of-38) from the field for the game. Meanwhile, Carroll County (22-3) came out of the gate smoking hot, scoring on its first eight possessions to take a 17-0 lead in a little over four minutes of game time.
“I just looked up and we are up 17-0. We came out ready to play. These kids jut work so hard. I think they’re motivated right now and I don’t think anything is going to stop them from coming out and playing hard and playing well,” Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said. “We may run into a team that beats us, but it is not going to be because our kids don’t come out and play hard. These kids are really, really focused right now and it’s exciting right now for me to coach them because they come out ready to play.”
Madi Dalton started the onslaught, scoring on an offensive putback on the Cavaliers’ first possession. Danielle Gallimore followed it up with a 3-pointer and Dalton scored again on a layup to make it 7-0 in less than two minutes. Abigail Kennedy made two free throws on Carroll’s next possession, then scored baskets the next two trips down to make it 13-0 Lady Cavs. Mariah Carter added a pair of free throws and Dalton gathered a steal and took it in for a layup, completing the huge 17-0 run with 3:54 still remaining in the opening period.
By the end of the first quarter, Carroll’s lead had grown to 24-4. It would end up being all the points the Cavaliers would need as Blacksburg (13-11) was held to seven points in the first half and 19 for the entire contest. Carroll ran away with the game despite no player scoring more than 11 points. Carter led the team with 11 points, Dalton and Kenda Robinson both chipped in nine, and Gallimore tossed in eight more.
“I feel like this group that I have right now really plays together. They are unselfish. I don’t know that they take care of the basketball better than past teams I have had, but we seem to be a little more aggressive on the offensive end so we can make up for some of those turnovers that we do have” Motley said. “Our turnovers, if you look at them, most of them are aggressive turnovers. We are throwing the ball down the floor and we are attacking the basket, things like that. They are just playing with a little chip on their shoulder and I hope they keep doing it. I think they have got their sights set on a region championship and they don’t want to let anybody stand in their way.”
With the win, the Cavaliers earned the right to host Thursday’s Region 4D Championship game against William Byrd (19-5). The No. 2-seeded Terriers defeated No. 3 Charlottesville 51-38 on Tuesday to move on. Carroll’s victory also punched the Lady Cavs’ ticket to the Group 4A State Tournament for the third straight season. State Quarterfinals are scheduled to be played March 2-3.
“I think our kids have our sights set on winning this game Thursday night. It wasn’t to get to the state tournament. That was never our goal, being happy being in the state tournament. We felt like we better get there and we want to win something else,” Motley said. “We don’t set our goals on winning the state championship or anything like that, but I know we didn’t set it at just getting to the state tournament.”
Blacksburg 4 3 6 6 – 19
Carroll Co. 24 20 13 9 – 56
Blacksburg – Williams 0 0-2 0, Shelton 2 1-2 5, Prosser 2 0-0 4, Gresh 1 0-0 2, Verneil 2 0-0 4, Kozar 1 0-0 2, Ramey 0 2-4 2. 3-pointers – none.
Carroll County – Dalton 3 3-6 9, Caviness 2 0-0 5, Gallimore 3 0-0 8, Robinson 4 1-1 9, Alley 1 0-0 3, Giles 2 1-2 5, Carter 4 3-4 11, Kennedy 2 2-2 6. 3-pointers – Gallimore 2, Caviness 1, Alley 1.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN