Carroll sweeps Region IV awards
by Michael Howlett
After bringing home Carroll County’s first regional championship since 1980, the Cavaliers also swept the postseason awards in All-Region IV and All-Southwest District voting. Senior Ryan Gravley and head coach Brad Hawks have been honored as Region IV Player and Coach of the Year, as well as the top player and coach in the Southwest District. Gravley is the first Carroll County boys’ basketball player to win Region Player of the Year honors since Terry Dalton in 1981.
A first-team All-Region IV selection a year ago, Gravley was unquestionably the leader of a Carroll County team that started the season 18-0, setting a new school record for best start in school history. With Gravley’s steady play from the guard position, the Cavaliers went on to go undefeated in the district during the regular season for their second consecutive district title before being upset in the district tournament championship game by Abingdon.
Carroll rebounded by beating Magna Vista in the regional semifinals and knocking off eventual state champion Salem in the Region IV championship game for the program’s first regional title in 33 years. The Cavaliers also tied a school record set by the 1978-79 team for most wins in school history with 24.
For the second straight season, Gravley led Carroll County in scoring (15.2 points per game) and assists (4.3 assists) on a deep team that featured six players with a scoring average of 5.6 points per game or better. With just 35 turnovers, Gravley finished the season with a whopping 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. He also led the team with a free-throw percentage of 83.9 percent (141-of-168) and finished third on the team in steals (44) and 3-point percentage, shooting 26.8 percent (26-of-97). He also averaged 2.7 rebounds per game, fourth best on the team.
“It’s a pretty big honor for a kid that works as hard as he does. He was just kind of the glue that held everybody together,” Hawks said. “I never had to worry about getting him ready for me. For the four years he played for me, he was always ready to play. He is not a real vocal guy, but everybody just respects him so much as a player and person. He is just a leader, whether he meant to be or not.”
And while Gravley will be sorely missed next season when the Cavaliers enter the River Ridge District, there is good news as second-team All-SWD selections Gunnar Beamer and Connor Lundy will be back to lead a group of seven returning players in 2013-14.
As a junior point guard, Beamer finished just four assists behind Gravley for the team lead in assists with 111, dishing out 4.1 per game. The lightning quick guard also led the team in steals with 65 and was third on the team in scoring with 7.9 points per game. Gravley’s assists were down this year because Beamer emerged as such a valuable commodity from the point guard position.
“Ryan didn’t have to handle the ball as much. Last year, to put us in position to win, Ryan he had to handle the ball, but Gunnar improved his game so much we felt comfortable moving Ryan to the two, which helped his scoring and freed him up a bit,” Hawks said. “Gunnar came out of his shell this year. We still want him to look to score more coming into his senior year, but he just had a tremendous year.”
Beamer was also second on the team behind Gravley in free-throw percentage at 68.2 percent (75-of-110) and was fourth on the squad in 3-point shooting at 25 percent (14-of-56).
“Toward the end of the year, coaches on opposing teams were really impressed with Gunnar,” Hawks said. “At the regional meeting, they were really impressed with Gunnar and several ODAC schools have been in contact. He turned their heads with his ability to handle the basketball.”
Another junior, Lundy brought versatility to the Cavaliers’ lineup as he could hurt opponents from the guard or forward positions. By far the team’s biggest outside threat, he led Carroll in 3-pointers made (47-of-146) and 3-point percentage (32.2 percent).
The team’s second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game, Lundy was third on the team in field goal percentage (45 percent) as he shot a whopping 63.1 percent (65-of-103) from inside the 3-point line. Lundy was also third on the team in rebounds (82) and assists (1.8 per game) and fourth in steals (39) and free-throw percentage (63.2 percent).
“Connor is just a tough matchup for everybody. He was hampered with a couple of ankle sprains, but he is a tough matchup when he is on,” Hawks said. “He is a really good shooter, and this year he added being able to get to middle of the lane, shoot his jumper and floater. Next year Connor and Winston Giles will have to score a lot.”
Carroll seniors Austin Horton (6.6 points, 3.4 rebounds per game) and Chris Smoot (5.6 points per game, 54 steals) earned All-SWD Honorable Mention accolades, as did juniors Cody Keith (7.8 points, team-high 4.8 rebounds per game) and Duncan Reece (4.1 points, 2.1 rebounds per game).
Over the past two seasons, Carroll County has won 42 games compared to just eight losses. Hawks was honored for his coaching ability in 2012-13 as he was selected Region IV, Division 4 Coach of the Year.
Ryan Gravley (Carroll Co.); Dylan Hodson (Salem); Paris Jamison (Martinsville); Josh Hess( Abingdon); Mack Owens (Abingdon)
Troy Mann (Salem); Chris Hampton (Magna Vista); Michael Ayares (Blacksburg); Joey Augustine (Salem); Ethan Richardson (Marion)
Player of Year - Ryan Gravley (Carroll County)
Coach of Year - Division 3 - B.J. Lasley (Abingdon), Division 4 – Brad Hawks (Carroll County)
Ryan Gravley (CC); Josh Hess (A.); Mack Owens (A); Ethan Richardson (Marion); Noah Walker (Tazewell)
Gunnar Beamer (CC); Connor Lundy (CC); Brenton Alford (M.); Colin Hancock (T.); Jalen Jordan (T.)
Player of the Year- Ryan Gravley – Carroll County
Coach of the Year – Brad Hawks – Carroll County
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