By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
RICHLANDS, Va. —
Crysta Guynn is known as a streaky shooter. She played the part on Saturday night.
Guynn came off the bench to make five 3s and 19 points, all in the second half, leading Carroll County to a 52-45 win over Richlands to claim the Southwest District tournament championship at Richlands Middle School.
Richlands (18-4), which ended Carroll County’s long string of SWD regular season titles in a playoff earlier in the week, led 44-39 with 3:23 to play, but the Lady Blues managed just one point the rest of the way.
These clubs split four games with each other during the season, with the Cavaliers (15-9) still wounded from losing the regular season title to the Blues.
“Our kids were really demoralized when they didn’t win the playoff game and the bottom line is Richlands just out-played us that night,” said Carroll County head coach Marc Motley, who had encouraged his team to win round four from the Lady Blues. “Fortunately for us we came out and we out-played them in the second half and at least we take a little something back.”
Up next for Richlands is a Region IV semifinal game on Wednesday against either Tazewell or Cave Spring, as the Blues seek their third straight regional crown.
“Both would have been good, but the regular season, to me it is more important than a tournament because that is over the whole year,” Richlands head coach Dennis Palmer said. “In a tournament you could have one bad game and you are done.
“That is the way it is in the regionals now. One bad game and you are done so we just have to get ready to play.”
While Richlands led 24-18 at the break, the Cavaliers controlled the boards and had shot 29 shots to just 12 for the turnover-prone Lady Blues. Carroll County looked for a lift, and Guynn was happy to answer the call.
“In warm-ups I was a little worried because I wasn’t hitting a lot, but then I got out there and I just kept shooting and they kept going in,” Guynn said. “I actually didn’t play at all in the second quarter, I think he forgot to sub, so I just went out there and he was telling us something will fall eventually and it did for us.”
Especially for Guynn. After the clubs combined to miss their first 15 shots of the third period, the left-handed Guynn canned a 3, followed by two more from long range, eventually tying the score at 30-30 with 2:27 on the clock.
“She is our best outside shooter, she shoots 40-some percent from outside, sometimes she struggles to get her shot off, she is real streaky,” said Motley, whose Cavaliers will seek to defend their Region IV title, starting with a visit from Magna Vista on Tuesday. “If she gets hot you had better watch out, she had four (3s) the other night against Abingdon in the semifinals and she has done that numerous times over the last three years.”
A drive to the basket by Taylor Martin put the Cavaliers up, but the Lady Blues answered, with a layup from MaKenley Davis and one of three 3s for Brittany Allen, which put Richlands ahead 38-36 going into the final period.
“We lost 32 there about three or four possessions and two or three of them we just lost her,” Palmer said. “We didn’t even pick her up, and if you leave her open she is going to knock them down and she knocked three of them down that really hurt us.”
After another 3 by Guynn, the Blues built some momentum, going on a 6-0 run, keyed by an offensive putback from Rachel Alley and drive by Allen to take a 44-39 lead with 3:23 on the clock.
“We did (get the momentum), and then we lost 32 (Guynn) in transition and I think in three out of four possessions she hit 3s,” Palmer said. “That got them back in the game and turned the momentum around and we just never could get it back.”
Martin, who had 12 points, followed with two free throws and Guynn assisted on a layup by Jessica Sheek. Guynn then followed with her fifth 3 to put the Cavaliers up to stay, 46-44, with 1:18 to play.
“She sees the ball go in the basket and sees it go in a second time you had better watch out because she just got in a zone,” Motley said. “We try to do everything we could to get her the basketball when we see her put the ball in the hole.”
While Richlands would score just a single free throw from that point, the Cavaliers made 6-of-8 from the charity stripe over the last 41.9 seconds to claim the tournament title.
Carroll County was 18 for 20 from the free throw line, while the Blues were 15-of-28.
“Very, very badly,” said Guynn, of the desire to knock off the Lady Blues. “We did not want to lose at all so we came and we were pumped up tonight and we had motivation so it was a good.”
It was the fourth meeting by these teams this season, with the games having been decided by 3, 2, 9 and 7 points.
“That was the most scoring game we have had with them,” Palmer said. “They play good defense and we play pretty good defense and they’re aggressive and we’re aggressive, it just makes for very competitive game.”
Allen led Richlands with 20 points, while Davis added 12. Palmer, whose Blues took 17 less shots than the Cavaliers in the game, hopes a weekend of rest will help his team in the regional round in the coming week.
“I think we got a little tired too,” Palmer said. “I think we are little leg tired right now, that was our seventh game in 13 days. We need to rest up and get ready for the regions.”
— Contact Brian Woodson at firstname.lastname@example.org
At Richlands Middle School
CARROLL COUNTY (15-9)
Megan Alderman 0 0-0 0, Michala Hash 1 2-2 5, Taylor Martin 2 8-9 12, Haden Caldwell 2 4-4 8, Rachel Sellers 1 2-2 4, Crysta Guynn 6 2-3 19, Jessica Sheek 2 0-0 4, Rylee Hughes 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 18-20 52.
MaKenley Davis 4 3-4 12, Cassidy Richardson 1 3-6 5, Brittany Allen 6 5-9 20, Sarah Compton 0 3-6 3, Rachel Alley 2 0-1 4, Montana Hearl 0 1-2 1, Nadia Ashig 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 15-28 45.
Carroll County….........……..10 8 18 16 — 52
Richlands……………........….12 12 14 7 — 45
3-point goals: CC 6 (Gwynn 5, Hash 1); RL 4 (Allen 3, Davis 1). Total fouls: 20; RL 18. Fouled out: Alley. Technicals: none. JV Championship — Carroll County 46, Marion 33.