TAZEWELL, Va. — Balance against the storm was decisive.
Five Dogs clawed their way into double digits as Tazewell raced to a 91-78 victory over a battling band of Marion Scarlet Hurricanes Friday.
Tazewell led by as many as 21 points in the opening minute of the second half before the Hurricane (6-8) stormed back and closed to within 8 with 3:40 left in the game. Riley Blevins fired in a game-high 31 points and hot-shooting Hunter Lefler popped in 22 more to pace the furious rally.
In the end, Tazewell was able to regain control of the tempo and secure the triumph.
"We executed our offense much better tonight," observed THS coach William Lester. "With that kind of scoring balance and a good effort (16-of-20) at the free throw line, most teams are going to win a lot of games. We were able to do that.
"But wasn't Blevins something tonight? We could not stop him. And Lefler was on fire from the outside. You had better have a good game when the opposing players are having nights like that. Give Marion a lot of credit."
Tanner Catron and Juwan Jordan sparkled early as the Bulldogs jumped to a 9-4 lead. In a preview of things to come, Blevins and Lefler began to attack the basket and the Hurricane battled back to a two-point deficit, 13-11, with 2:30 to go in the opening period.
Nick Elkins provided a second quarter spark for Tazewell, as Jordan and Catron continued to shine. Tazewell also had a solid 11-for-11 free throw mark in the first half.
"We stepped up our defense in the second quarter," said Elkins. "Passing the ball to the open man and looking for easy lay-ups — that's our bread and butter. We have to do that."
Davis opened the second half with a quick score as the Bulldogs increased their margin to more than 20 points. About that time, the Scarlet Hurricane came to life behind their big guns.