BLUEFIELD, Va. —
Rivalry games are always battles.
Wednesday night’s contest between the Tazewell Lady Bulldogs and Graham High G-Girls at Graham Middle School was no exception as Tazewell pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 46-32 non-district win.
“We took a good shot in the third quarter. They (Graham) made a run and did a very good job of executing,” said Tazewell head coach Jason Southworth. “Any time you are playing away from home and a team makes a run, you’ve got to be able to handle it. We did a good job handling it and executing what I wanted them to execute.”
Karly Morgan scored the first point of the night from the free throw line and gave Graham what proved to be its only lead of the game. Tazewell, sparked by two three from Taylor Catron spurted ahead 10-3 and Autumn Hash’s bucket underneath at the buzzer gave the Lady Dogs a 15-7 lead after one.
Scoring came at a premium in the second quarter as both teams were plagued by the turnover bug and fouls. Graham made only two shots from the field along with four free throws, while Tazewell made four field goals, one of them a three by Catron and led 24-15 at halftime.
The G-Girls came out renewed in the third period. The one-time 14-point Tazewell lead was cut in half when Morgan made a shot in the paint and Erin Wilson’s basket midway through the quarter brought the G-Girls to within five. Alysia Leung went coast-to-coast to make it a three point game and with 2:15 on the clock Ashley Moretto jumper from the right elbow made it a one-point game, 26-25.
“We talked at halftime and made a few adjustments,” said Graham head coach Tracy Raban. “If we could put four quarters together the way we did the third quarter, it would have been a different ballgame. That’s the way we can play and why it’s a little frustrating to not come out and get four quarters.”
Hash scored Tazewell’s first basket of the quarter with 1:45 left and the Lady Bulldogs went into the final eight minutes ahead by five, 30-25.
“We thought she (Hash) tore her ACL, but it came out negative,” Southworth said. “We wanted to save her and make sure she’s good to go for the end of the year to play. I wanted to make sure everything was fine with her tonight and we limited her playing time. She played well.”
Just as the third belonged to Graham, the fourth period had Tazewell stamped on it. The Lady Bulldogs rebuilt their lead to 10 points on Haley Christian’s putback, 38-28 and then outscored the G-Girls 8-4 the remainder of the way to gain the win.
Catron led the Lady Dogs with a game-high 17 points, including three treys and Kate Snapp added 10, including 8-of-8 shooting from the free throw line.
Morgan led the G-Girls with 11 points.
“I don’t question our girls’ effort because they never quit,” Raban said. “We just didn’t execute and had too many crucial turnovers at key points of the game. And if you look at our shooting percentages, we were 1-of-10 in the fourth quarter.”
Both teams next return to district play. Tazewell (11-6, 3-0 SWD) will host Carroll County on Friday, while Graham (8-8, 2-2 MED) entertains Galax this evening.
At Graham Middle School
Kaley Holloway 0 2-5 2, Brienna Sparks 1 0-0 2, Taylor Catron 6 2-4 17, Kate Snapp 1 8-8 10, Essence Brown 1 0-0 2, Whitney Saunders 0 2-2 2, Haley Christian 2 0-0 5, Autumn Hash 3 0-0 6, Alley Lee 3 0-0 6, Totals 14 14-19 46.
Karly Morgan 5 1-2 11, Erin Wilson 1 0-0 2, Alysia Leung 1 0-0 2, Emaleigh Gallinger 0 1-4 1, Liz Workman 2 3-7 7, Taylor Williams 0 0-0 0, Casey Spencer 0 0-0 0, Bethany Evans 0 0-1 0, Ashley Rasnake 0 0-0 0, Ashley Moretto 2 5-6 9, Bailee Poe 0 0-0 0, Totals 11 10-20 32.
Tazewell..............................15 9 6 16 — 46
Graham................................7 8 10 7 — 32
3-point baskets: T - 4 (Catron 3, Christian), G - None