BLUEFIELD, Va. —
Ashley Rasnake’s linescore for Graham High School on Friday night shows one field goal made.
Oh, but what a field goal.
With the game tied and time running out, two of Graham’s fantastic freshmen, Lexi Kiser and Jia Coppola, pried the ball loose from Grayson County near midcourt.
Rasnake took a desperate pass from Coppola and streaked down the floor to bank in an uncontested layup with 1.3 seconds left on the clock, and the G-Girls took a 47-45 victory, their fifth win in their past six games.
Graham coach Tracy Raban said she told her girls during their final timeout, “Your defense is what’s kept you in this game. That’s what you’ve got to do to finish the game, and we came up with the big steal there at the end.
“You couldn’t ask for a better shot to end the game than a wide-open layup.”
Rasnake said, “I just knew I had to make it. My heart was pounding like crazy. The only thing I was worried about was how much time was left.”
Graham (14-7) managed to stay ahead for most of the first half, taking a 24-15 lead into the break with tenacious defense and some textbook rebounding by their tall center Dejah Carter.
Kiser went on a personal 7-3 run to open the third quarter. Her three-pointer from the right corner gave the home squad a 31-18 margin. But they scored only one more field goal in the period, and the Devils (12-8) had trimmed Graham’s lead to 33-28.
The final period was a tense back-and-forth affair. Grayson County center Camryn McGrady fought the Graham defense to a standstill. She went 4 for 6 from the freee throw line in a one-minute span on the game clock to pull the visitors within one point, 33-32.
Graham showed that it could score from the charity stripe with the clock stopped as well. In less than two minutes of playing time, the G-Girls were 6 for 8 to take a 43-36 advantage.
Grayson County scored nine straight points and took a 45-43 lead with 59 seconds remaining on a transition layup by Meredith Frost. Graham’s Carter pulled the score even again via two free throws with 43.8 seconds left.
Raban said, “When I took over the program, I said we’re going to play defense. ... This team, we just go brain-dead sometimes. It’s not because we don’t hustle or play hard. We forget what we’re trying to do.”
Rasnake said that as the score narrowed in the second half, “I just knew we had to buckle down. Defense got us through the whole game. We just had to buckle down and play.”
Kiser led all scorers with 16 points; Carter added 10. Both were perfect from the foul line, where Graham was 14 for 16 overall.
Three Devils each scored 12 points — McGrady, Frost and Taylor Cannaday.
The G-Girls have won all nine of their Mountain Empire District games. The Devils are in second place in the district with two games left.
Raban said, “Give Grayson County credit for not quitting on the game. ... They kept fighting, which we knew they would. This was a big game for them, conference-wise.”
Graham finishes its regular season on Wednesday, hosting Fort Chiswell. Grayson County will play at Narrows on Tuesday.
At Graham Middle School
Meredith Frost 4 1-2 12, Taylor Cannaday 5 0-0 12, Sarah Eller 1 0-0 3, Camryn McGrady 3 6-10 12, Emily Hart 2 2-3 6. Totals 15 9-15 45.
Lexi Kiser 6 2-2 16, Emaleigh Gallinger 1 0-0 2, Bethany Evans 2 0-0 4, Jia Coppola 2 2-4 7, Ashley Rasnake 1 4-4 6, Bailee Poe 1 0-0 2, Dejah Carter 2 6-6 10. Totals 15 14-16 47.
Grayson County..........7 8 13 17 — 45
Graham......................11 13 9 14 — 47
3-point goals — GC 6 (Frost 3, Cannaday 2, Eller 1); GHS 3 (Kiser 2, Coppola 1). Fouled out — none.