Carroll County saved perhaps its best performance of the year for one of the biggest games of the season Friday in a 58-39 River Ridge District win over Salem in Hillsville.
In a key battle in the district standings and for postseason positioning, the Lady Cavaliers committed just six turnovers and held the Spartans to 14 points in the second half. Carroll County (14-2, 9-0 River Ridge) also shot nearly 50 percent from the field (19-of-41) in one of its better offensive outings this year.
“You can say whatever you want about how well we shot the basketball, but the biggest stat was we had six turnovers on the night, three in the first half, three in the second half against a good quality basketball team,” Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said. “We’ve turned the ball over 18 times against somebody 7-9. We don’t turn it over, that’s more shots for us. If you get more shots than the other team, usually we are going to win. Fortunately tonight we did that and we made more shots.”
The Cavaliers benefitted from an extremely balanced performance with four players in double figures as Keely Lundy fired in 16, Megan Alderman scored 12, and Crysta Guynn and Mattie Kennedy each netted 10 points.
Lundy helped blow a tight game open in the second half with three 3-pointers in a span of about two minutes. With Carroll up 38-28 with 1:48 in the second half, Lundy drilled back-to-back triples to increase the lead to 44-28.
Rylee Haynes scored off an assist from Kennedy with two seconds left in the quarter as the Cavs outscored Salem 17-3 in the third. Then Lundy opened the fourth with another 3-pointer to complete an 11-0 run to put Carroll ahead 49-28.
“Keely gave us a huge lift in the second half,” Motley said. “When she gets hot, she seems to make shots. We rode her till she missed one.”
Salem (12-4, 6-2 River Ridge) got no closer than 14 points the rest of the game, despite trailing just 29-25 at the half. The Spartans briefly led 13-12 late in the first quarter and pulled to within an 18-all tie early in the second.
The Cavs responded with an 8-0 run spearheaded by Guynn. She made it 20-18 with a driving basket before Lundy scored off a feed from Kennedy. Alderman added a driving bucket in the lane before Guynn completed the run with a 3-pointer that was aided by Haley Turman’s offensive rebound and assist.
Turman and Sami Reece combined for just four points, but played a huge role in the Cavalier victory. Both battled foul trouble as Salem ended the half on a 6-0 run after pounding the ball inside to Chloe Dennis.
“We got out of the half without getting in foul trouble we couldn’t handle, and fortunately we got through quite a bit of the second half before we got into any major trouble. I tell Turman and Reece they’ve got 10 fouls and they can’t take them home with them,” Motley said. “They don’t score a lot of points but they jam the middle, they bump cutters, they rebound, they do everything I ask them to except shoot the basketball. Tonight, between the two of them, they had four points but they did all of the other things I asked them to do and that is why they play.”
Although Carroll still has huge games looming Thursday at home against Hidden Valley and a rematch Feb. 14 at Salem, Friday’s win kept the Cavs unbeaten in the River Ridge District and in line for a number one seed in the upcoming Conference 24 playoffs.
“If we somehow run the table we are going to be the one seed in the conference tournament. And I feel like we can play with anybody in the conference,” Motley said. “I think if you are able to run the table in the regular season you put yourself in the best position to beat people. That is all we can ask for. If we do our job, we don’t need any help.”
Salem13..12….3..11 - 39
Carroll 18..11..17..12 - 58
Salem – Foley 3 2-5 8, Migliarese 1 1-4 3, Rich 1 0-1 2, Price 1 0-0 3, Coulling 4 1-2 12, Plympton 1 1-2 3, Dennis 2 4-8 8. 3-pointers – Coulling 3, Price 1.
Carroll County – Alderman 5 2-2 12, Lundy 5 2-6 16, Kennedy 3 4-6 10, Guynn 4 2-2 10, Haynes 2 0-1 4, Turman 2 0-0 4. 3-pointers – Lundy 4, Alderman 2, Haynes 2.
Allen Worrell can be reached by calling (276) 728-7311 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN