Rachel Sellers scored all of her team-high 12 points in the second half Wednesday and Taylor Martin added nine assists as Carroll County’s girls rallied for a 51-47 Southwest District win over Abingdon in Hillsville.
Carroll County (7-4, 1-0 SWD), which fell behind 13-6 late in the first quarter, ended the half on a 19-8 run to go ahead 25-21 at the break. Then in the second half, Martin dished out six of her team-high nine assists, three of them going to Rachel Sellers as the Cavaliers took advantage of mismatches to hold on for the four-point victory.
“I don’t think we particularly played great but in the fourth quarter they were switching to all screens, and especially ball screens, and we were getting mismatches down low with Sellers,” Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said. “They were leaving their point guard guarding Sellers and bringing their big kid out to guard Taylor and they were just giving her a field day. So as long as they are doing that, we were looking mismatch. We had Cassidi (McCann) early getting them and then we had Sellers getting them all the way through the second half.”
McCann’s putback late in the first quarter ended a two-and-half-minute dry spell for the Cavaliers and brought Carroll back to within 13-8. Michala Hash then sparked an 8-0 Cavalier run early in the second quarter with a 3-pointer. Megan Alderman and Rylee Haynes each added a basket after a Hayden Caldwell free throw to put Carroll in front 19-15 midway through the second quarter.
McCann, who finished with eight points, also added an offensive stickback with 30 seconds left in the half to give her team a 25-21 advantage at the break.
“Cassidi and Rachel just played tremendous games for us. We didn’t prepare. Fortunately in the second quarter our intensity level went up a little bit, got us back into it, got us a little lead going into halftime. We are a lot different team with Rachel Sellers sitting on the bench. And Cassidi gave us such a huge lift off the bench in the post when Sellers had early foul trouble,” Motley said. “They both were playing so well I decided to leave them both on the floor quite a bit. It’s one of those things where we didn’t play particularly well but we got an ugly win.”
Sellers scored Carroll’s first six points of the third quarter to increase the cushion to 31-25. After Abingdon cut the lead to one, Sellers struck again with a basket with 15 seconds left to make it 35-32 heading into the fourth period.
Hash drained her second 3-pointer of the game about a minute later and McCann scored back-to-back baskets off assists from Martin to keep Carroll slightly in front at 42-36. Martin then dished off to Sellers for a pair of back-to-back baskets and the Cavaliers made 5-of-9 free throws down the stretch to hold on.
“We didn’t come out ready to play. I think sometimes we have been guilty of this, we think we are better than somebody maybe or we don’t take somebody seriously,” Motley said. “We talked about this one the last few days and said they get after it. And they played as hard as anybody we’ve played all year. It is what it is. It is a win and we are 1-0 in the district.”
Hash added 11 points for the Cavaliers, while Martin and McCann each tallied eight points. Taylor Blevins led Abingdon with 20.
Abingdon138 11 15 - 47
Carroll Co. 10 15 10 16 - 51
Abingdon – Ma. Turner 1 2-6 5, Mo. Turner 1 6-8 8, Kennedy 1 0-0 2, E. Blevins 1 0-0 2, T. Blevins 6 8-12 20, Toler 1 0-0 2, Billips 2 4-6 8. 3-pointers – Ma. Turner 1.
Carroll County – Alderman 2 0-0 4, Sheek 0 0-2 0, Hash 3 3-6 11, Caldwell 0 4-6 4, Martin 1 6-9 8, Haynes 1 0-0 2, Guynn 1 0-0 2, McCann 4 0-0 8, Sellers 6 0-0 12. 3-pointers – Hash 2.