By ALLEN GREGORY
Bristol Herald Courier
MARION, Va. —
The Carroll County Cavaliers might be wise to start paying special attention to Richlands guard MaKenley Davis.
Earlier this season at Carroll County, the 5-foot-9 senior hit the game-winning 3-pointer for the Blue Tornado in a three-point win.
Davis worked her late-game mojo again in Monday’s playoff for the Southwest District regular season title.
With three minutes remaining, Davis canned a three from the corner to give Richlands a 36-33 lead. Richlands held on from there en route to the 42-33 victory.
Richlands (19-4) will host the SWD tournament this week.
The latest slice of drama from Davis was manufactured by point guard Cassidy Richardson. The jet-quick guard split the defense before finding Davis open and ready in the corner.
“I work on my shot a lot in practice, and Cassidy always gives me that kickout out pass,” Davis said. “I was able to spot up tonight for my jumper. Corner and wing, that’s where I’m most comfortable,.”
Playing through a leg injury, Richardson collected 12 points and her usual bundle of assists.
Richlands senior Brittany Allen, who surpassed the 1,000 career point mark earlier this season, led the Blues Monday with 16 points.
Allen scored the first eight points for Richlands, which grabbed an 8-2 lead at 4:52 mark of the first quarter.
Carroll County then used its defense to take a 19-13 advantage midway through the second quarter.
The Cavs (11-9) led 24-23 at halftime, and then their offense totally bogged down against the Richlands pressure.
The frustration mounted for Carroll County in the final three minutes. Allen drew a charge for Richlands, while Richardson and Compton each hit a pair of free throws.
For the game, Richlands connected on 12 of its 13 free throws.
“All of our games against Carroll County have been similar,” Richlands coach Dennis Palmer said. “Last week, we had a three-point lead before missing a couple layups and free throws. It’s hard to score on Carroll County because of their defense, but tonight we turned that around.”
Palmer said he can count on Davis for many essentials.
“MaKenley can handle the ball, drive the ball and shoot it,” Palmer said. “If you can do all three of those things, you can be effective.”
Carroll County won its first Region IV title last season en route to 23 wins and a berth in the Division 4 state semifinals.
Taylor Martin, a 5-5 senior point guard, was the lone returning starter for coach Marc Motley.
Martin and junior guard Megan Alderman and Martin each scored nine points Monday while 5-5 senior Michala Hash added seven.
“Richlands did a really good job defending us,” Motley said. “We missed some shots, but defense had something to do with that.”
Carroll County grinded out a 37-35 win at Richlands last Monday after suffering the heartbreaking 38-35 setback in Hillsville.
According to Palmer, the late-season charge of the Blues can be traced to the hustle, footwork and tenacity of his defenders.
“Here in the last month, our man-to-man has really picked up,” Palmer said. “You’ve got a chance to win a lot of games when you play good defense and rebound.”
Davis enjoys playing her supporting role for the defending Region IV Division 3 champions.
“We focus on getting the ball to Brittany, but our whole team can shoot,” Davis said. “We just play really well together. And we work hard on defense.”
at Marion High School
Hearl 1 2-2 4, Davis 2 4-5 8, Richardson 5 2-2 12, Allen 5 2-2 16, H. Alley 0 2-2 2, Compton 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 12-13 42.
CARROLL COUNTY (33)
Alderman 3 0-1 9, Sheek 1 0-0 2, Hash 2 2-4 7, Martin 4 0-0 9, Guynn 0 2-2 2, McCann 1 0-0 2, Sellers 0 0-0 0, Caldwell 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 4-7 33.
Richlands............13 10 6 13 — 42
Carroll County.....12 12 6 3 — 33
3-point goals-Richlands 5 (Davis, Allen 4), CC 5 (Alderman 3, Hash, Martin). Total fouls-Richlands 12, CC 16. Fouled out-none.