ROCKY GAP, Va. —
If the 3s aren’t dropping, the answer is inside.
Chander Burton scored nine of his 23 points in a 22-point third quarter, helping Narrows sweep the season series from Bland County with a 51-39 Mountain Empire District victory at a toasty and packed Rocky Gap High School.
Burton led Narrows (9-5) with 23 points, including 14 in the second half, and Brandon Spangler added 10 points, including six in the deciding three period in which the Green Wave took the ball to the basket when the 3s simply wouldn’t drop.
“I think somewhere around halftime we were looking at some of our stats and we were 1-for-20 from the 3-point line in the last two games up until that point,” Narrows head coach Chris Gautier said. “We discussed it and we weren’t going to take any more shots from the perimeter, we were going to attack the basket and we did that and we saw better things in the second half.”
While Narrows is used to getting production from Burton, Gautier urged Spangler to provide more after the break, and he did just that.
“Spangler really stepped up, I came down hard on him at halftime and he really responded,” Gautier said. “That is what we need from him every night because he is more than capable.
“We weren’t getting it from him there in the first half at all. I am really proud of the way he stepped up.”
Part of those issues came from Bland County (2-10), which led 21-18 at the break, with Mason Christian scoring nine of his 13 points to give the Bears the halftime lead.
“We just started playing in the second half,” Gautier said. “That may have been the worst half of basketball we played all year. We just turned up the intensity a little bit in the second half and that led to some easy buckets for us down the stretch.”
A first half that featured five ties and four lead changes had just one change after the break. Rodney Perdue drove to the basket and banked in a shot to put the Green Wave up to stay at 22-21 with 5:40 to go in the third quarter.
“Their quickness out front, that scramble type of defense in the half-court gave us a little trouble, the third quarter in particular,” Bland County head coach Rich Hankins said. “It turned a real close basketball game into a 6 or 8 point deficit for us.
“I am pleased with my kids, they fought hard, they fought from start to finish and without a doubt I think we are getting a little bit better.”
Perdue, who injured his ankle in the fourth quarter, but returned for the Green Wave, makes a difference with the ball in his hands. He had seven points, while handling the ball for Narrows.
“He is very quick with the basketball,” Hankins said. “He gave us a little problem size wise, we couldn’t really defend him.”
“We definitely need him on the floor,” added Gautier, who didn’t have him for portions of the first half with two fouls.
Narrows just kept taking the ball in the basket in the third, outscoring the Bears 22-9 in the third period, capping it off with a 3-point pointer by Burton with 3.8 seconds on the clock to give the Green Wave a 40-30 lead.
Bland County pulled within one, at 28-27 on a layup by Zach Gwyn, but the Green Wave outscored the Bears 12-3 the remainder of the period.
Narrows managed to stay ahead by at least seven points in the final period, with the Green Wave making 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to finish 15-of-20 for the game.
“I told my kids that 3-point play at the end of the third quarter on an offensive stickback changed the momentum a little bit for them in their favor and stretch that lead to 10,” Hankins said. “You have got to give Narrows a lot of credit to come in here and shoot 15 for 20 from the foul line, that is pretty good.”
Burton led all scorers with his 23 points, but Hankins said the talented senior had even more in the Green Wave’s 81-45 win earlier this season in Narrows.
“We knew coming in, he lit us up the first time around for 33,” Hankins said. “Chandler is a really nice player, he has gotten stronger, but my kids, they fought the whole way.”
Narrows returns to the court with three home games next week with Graham, Galax and Fort Chiswell, which should be a good test for the Green Wave as the postseason approaches.
“They are at home so that helps, but three tough ones,” Gautier said. “This will really let us know where we stand in district and going into postseason play before long.”
Bland County, which also received eight points from Tyler Faulkner, will visit Grayson County on Tuesday.
Gautier is looking for his Green Wave, which had dropped four straight after an 8-1 start to the season, was pleased for a return to winning ways, but still wasn’t pleased with what he saw.
“At the end of the day I guess you have got to be pleased with it, but this game right here tells us we have a lot of work to do,” Gautier said. “I think we have taken a step backward in the last couple of games. We have got to find a way to get back where we were.”
—Contact Brian Woodson
at Rocky Gap High School
Gavin Givens 2 2-4 6, Brandon Spangler 5 0-0 10, Rodney Perdue 2 3-4 7, Chandler Burton 6 9-10 23, Austin Lively 2 0-0 4, Kyle Hall 0 1-2 1, Aaron Collins 0 0-0 0, Devin Turner 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 15-20 51.
BLAND COUNTY (2-10)
Mason Christian 4 5-6 13, Jonathan Goins 1 0-2 2, Jonah Miller 3 0-0 6, Tyler White 0 1-3 1, Tyler Faulkner 3 0-2 8, Kalub Lambert 1 0-0 3, Zach Guynn 3 0-0 6. Totals 15 6-13 39.
Narrows.............................12 6 22 11 — 51
Bland County....................12 9 9 9 — 39
3-point goals: NR 2 (Burton 2); BC 3 (Faulkner 2, Lambert 1). Total fouls: NR 13; B C 16. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none. JV—Narrows won.
GIrls game: Narrows 46, Bland County 36
ROCKY GAP, Va. — When Narrows needed it most, the top scorers produced and the free throws dropped.
Tiffany Perdue and Shelby Baker combined for 15 fourth quarter points, and the Green Wave pulled away for a 44-36 Mountain Empire District win over Bland County on Friday night at Rocky Gap High School.
Shana Davis, the smallest player on the court at an even 5-foot, also made several key plays down the stretch, as the Green Wave outscored the Bears 18-12 in the final period.
“I will tell you who step it up more is Shana Davis on the press, she got some turnovers and she made her foul shots,” Narrows head coach Wayne Gautier said.
Free throws were also a factor. Narrows (8-5) was 12 for 26 from the charity stripe, including 5-of-16 through opening three periods. The Green Wave then made 7-of-8 to secure the win in the final quarter.
Perdue, who had three 3s and 16 points, was 4-for-4 in the last period, while Davis, who had seven points, was 3-of-4. Baker, who finished with 12 points, had six of those in the final period, but missed all six of her free throw attempts.
“Like I told Shelby the first part of the year, if they find out you can’t shoot foul shots they are going to put you on the line,” Gautier said. “You ain’t going to get no easy baskets. It is hack-a-Shaq or Dwight Howard, it is the same thing, they are going to foul you until you prove you can make them.”
Meanwhile, Bland County took two free throws, making both in the third.
“The other thing that is frustrating is we shot two free throws and they shot 26 and that tells me we are taking too many shots outside and not getting to the hole enough,” Bland County head coach Jason Lambert said. “What makes it even worse is when we do get an offensive rebound we kick it back outside.
“In girls basketball if you go right up with it they are going to call a foul, and we never even got close to the 1-and-1. They have may had two or three fouls in the first half and three in the second.”
Bland County (2-13), which dropped its 10th straight game, took a 14-11 lead in a cold-shooting first half. A 3 by Payton Carter at the second quarter buzzer enabled the Green Wave to pull within three at the break.
“The biggest killer is we are up six with 10 seconds left in the first half and we have a turnover and they get a 3 and cut it in half and that takes the momentum away from you,” Lambert said.
Both teams took time to adjust to being back on the floor after missing practice and game time because of weather.
“We can’t consistent because we never get to practice because of the weather or play,” Gautier said. “We come out cold, and it took us a half, just like the other night (in a 78-71 win over) East Mont, but we didn’t quit.
“It is a tough place to play up here always, it is a battle and tight rims.”
Lambert’s freshman daughter, Mallie, canned two long 3s to open the third quarter to push the Bears up 20-12, but the Green Wave pressured the Bears and followed with a 14-4 run, taking a 26-24 lead into the final period.
“We hurt them a little bit with that press and got a few turnovers and got back in the ball game,” Gautier said.
“Those are the things you can’t do with us because we can’t turn the ball over,” added Lambert, “because we don’t score many points and when you turn the ball over it is hard to win.”
With Baker struggling to make shots, the Green Wave went to Perdue, who had two third quarter 3s, and finished 15 points in the second half.
“Tiffany is a senior, she has got to step up,” Gautier said. “She has been struggling a little bit from the field and even with foul shots. She never misses foul shots, she has been here lately, but it is a mental thing.
“You have got to have the shooter’s mentality so you have to keep jacking them and she did and she came out and got some points for us.”
There were two ties and two lead changes to open the final period, with Bland County led by eight points from Tori Smith. Narrows responded with nine more points from Perdue to sweep the season series, having beaten the Bears 54-49 earlier this year.
“Darieh (Nagel) stepped up and Sam Weatherly had a good game and even Payton,” said Gautier, whose Green Wave will visit Radford in a key conference game on Monday. “We had a lot of people playing out of position because we couldn’t score.
“We had to put some more guards in and try to get some shots off. A good game, it is a conference game, it is a good win for us.”
Bland County was led by Eaton with 10 points, nine for Lambert and eight by Smith. Lambert has a young club, which continues to experience growing pains, but have gotten better even if it doesn’t show in the record.
“We are still young, I looked out there one time and we had three sophomores, a freshman, and a junior on the floor,” said Lambert. “It is going to get better, but we have got to keep working hard. I have seen improvement.”
at Rocky Gap High School
Samantha Weatherly 1 3-4 5, Shana Davis 2 3-4 7, Tiffany Perdue 4 5-8 16, Darieh Nagel 0 0-2 0, Shelby Baker 6 0-6 12, Payton Carter 1 1-2 4, Courtney Smith 0 0-0 0, Victoria Wade 0 0-0 0, Megan Weatherly 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 12-26 44.
BLAND COUNTY (2-13)
Malee Lambert 3 0-0 9, Amber Eaton 5 0-0 10, Tori Smith 4 0-0 8, Kristen Dillow 1 0-0 3, Caitlin Fanning 0 0-0 0, Lindsey Watters 0 0-0 0, Lindsey Faulkner 0 0-0 0, Linsey Dean 0 0-0 0, Rachel Radford 0 0-0 0, Danielle Russo 1 0-0 2, Lakyn Patterson 0 2-2 2. Totals 14 2-2 36.
Narrows...........................6 5 15 18 — 44
Bland County.................8 6 10 12 — 36
3-point goals: NR 4 (Perdue 3, Carter 1); BC 4 (Lambert 3, Dillow 1). Total fouls: NR 7; BC 18. Fouled out: Russo. Technicals: none. JV—Narrows won.