Trailing 35-13 at the half on Friday, Hidden Valley put together a comeback for the ages, stunning Carroll County with a 22-0 run and a shocking 57-54 River Ridge District victory in Hillsville.
A game pitting two of the top five teams from the Timesland looked to be a snoozer as Carroll County (8-2, 3-1 River Ridge) opened the game on a 12-0 run. The Cavaliers put together their best half of the season, committing just one turnover and shooting 52 percent from the floor (13-of-25) in the first two quarters.
Carroll built the big lead with crisp passing and suffocating defense, limiting Hidden Valley (6-1, 4-0 River Ridge) to 20 percent shooting (4 of 20) in the first 16 minutes. Up 20 right before the half, it looked like things couldn’t get much better for the Cavaliers. Remarkably it did, as Keely Lundy drilled a buzzer beater from the top of the key to make it 35-13 at the break.
Perhaps feeling the game was in the bag, Carroll absolutely fell apart in the second half. After Haley Turman and Mariah Carter scored to make it 39-17, the Cavaliers would turn the ball over seven times on their next 11 possession. Meanwhile, the Titans took advantage, knocking down three 3-pointers and scoring quick, easy baskets in transition. Senia Gray’s hoop of an inbounds pass tied it at 39-all, completing the 22-0 run in less than six minutes.
“You never want to be on the wrong end of an epic comeback. Unfortunately when there are epic comebacks somebody has to be on the wrong end and tonight it was us,” Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said. “You look back on it and of course you would think there are things you would do differently. But if you take me into halftime up 35-13 I am probably still not going to change a single thing we were doing because you don’t fix what ain’t broke. But then you look back on it and say, ‘Well, if I had done this or I would have done this maybe that would have generated a little bit more energy on our end.’ I thought that was it. I thought the energy level was way down in the third quarter.”
Carroll briefly regained momentum. Mattie Kennedy was fouled on a 3-pointer with less than a second left in the third quarter. She made one of the three to put the Cavs back in front 40-39. Mariah Carter, who led Carroll with 18 points, scored the first four points of the final period to put Carroll up 44-39 with 6:48 to play.
But Jordyn Sadler’s three-point play with 5:07 left gave Hidden Valley its first lead of the game at 47-46. After working so hard to make a furious comeback, the Titans would never surrender the lead.
Trailing 56-54 in the final minute, Carroll nearly regained the advantage but Lundy’s 3-pointer went halfway down before popping back out. The Cavs had an open look under the basket that would have tied the game with two seconds left, but lost possession, allowing the Titans to hang on for the unbelievable win.
“We kind of fumbled the pass on a wide-open shot but you got what you wanted there at the end. The ball just didn’t bounce your way that time,” Motley said. “I felt like offensively we stood around the third quarter and that generated their offense when we turned it over. They were getting wide-open shots in transition because we were turning the basketball over. And the fourth quarter we didn’t turn it over quite as bad and were able to execute a little bit offensively, but at that point in time momentum shifted and they got hot and stayed hot.”
After committing just one turnover in the first half, Carroll gave it away 12 times after the break. Hidden Valley also turned around its horrendous early shooting, knocking down a blistering 56.3 percent (18-of-32) of its shots in the second half.
“I felt like the thing that has been with us all year long is our defense and I didn’t feel like we played defense in the second half, especially the fourth quarter,” Motley said.
Last year, Carroll lost to Hidden Valley in Hillsville before winning the rematch in Roanoke. The Cavs will get the chance to exact some revenge February 2. But before even thinking about that, Motley said the team needs to find a way to put this one behind them.
“You are going to have a lot of highs and a lot of lows in a 22-game regular season. And I told the kids that is going to be a really tough one to take but you can’t get yourself too high or too low at any certain point because you have a long way to go,” Motley said. “That is only our 10th game and it is a 22-game regular season. I said use it as a learning experience and we don’t want to be on the wrong end of this thing ever again.”
Hidden Valley 9 4 26 18 – 57
Carroll County 21 14 5 14 – 54
Hidden Valley – Singleton 3 2-2 10, Sadler 5 2-3 12, Freeland 8 0-0 20, S. Gray 5 3-4 13, Sweet 1 0-0 2. 3-pointers – Freeland 4, Singleton 2.
Carroll County – Lundy 4 1-2 9, Kennedy 4 3-5 13, Haynes 1 0-0 3, Carter 7 4-5 18, Holt 0 1-2 1, McMillian 1 0-1 2, Turman 4 0-0 8. 3-pointers – Kennedy 2, Haynes 1.
Carroll County 43, Salem 38
Mattie Kennedy, Mariah Carter and Keely Lundy all scored in double digits Jan. 5 as Carroll County won a River Ridge District road game 43-38 at Salem.
Kennedy paced the Cavaliers with 14 points, while Lundy and Carter each scored 10 for Carroll. Jade Holt added five points in the win.
The Lady Cavs trailed 25-21 at the half, but outscored Salem (6-4, 2-1 River Ridge) 22-13 to rally for the five-point victory. Hannah Coulling scored 17 points to lead all scorers for the Spartans. Chloe Dennis led Salem with 10 rebounds.
Carroll 15 6 13 9 — 43
Salem 12 13 6 7 — 38
Carroll County – Kennedy 14, Lundy 10, Carter 10, Holt 5, McMillan 2, Dalton 2. 3-pointers – Lundy 1, Kennedy 1.
Salem – Coulling 17, Foley 6, Rich 5, Magenbauer 4, Dennis 4, East 2. 3-pointers – Rich 1, Coulling 1.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]