By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
All’s well that ends well. Two crucial steals and 7-of-10 overtime free throws rescued a game that Grundy dominated early before Tazewell rallied for a near win as the Lady Golden Wave grabbed a thrilling 55-47 victory Tuesday.
Savannah Charles sparkled with five three-point goals, leading all scorers with 17 points for Grundy (5-1) and her teammate Krystal Cantrell weaved her way through the second half with four fouls, ending up with a steal in the extra period that may have saved the win for the Wave.
Their heroics overshadowed an amazing effort from the Lady Dogs’ Autumn Hash, who powered up 11 third quarter points and finished with 16, helping Tazewell (3-4) to an improbable win after a cold start.
Hash muscled in from the right side for a lay-up to tie the score with half a minute to play but the Bulldogs missed two shots in the lane in the last four seconds of regulation to force overtime.
Haley Christian drilled in two shots before Brienna Sparks arched in a trey from the left sideline, cutting the margin to 41-39. Morgan Hall powered for an inside score for the Golden Wave on the next play, however, but Whitney Saunders notched two free throws for Tazewell in the see-saw battle.
After a dominant first quarter by the Golden Wave, the teams traded points in the second stanza. Saunders got Tazewell’s only point in the first frame with a free throw at the 3:40 mark.
Loni Webb and Hall got Grundy going with buckets over the cold-shooting Lady Dogs. Tazewell’s Autumn Hash was steady on the boards. Savannah Charles, who popped a pair of first half three-pointers, banked in a trey and at the end of the first quarter Grundy had coasted to an 11-1 lead.
Wave coach Craig Plymal said, “Tazewell did get behind early but we knew they would make a run. They have good shooters and are well coached. Savannah made the shots but I expected those steals, too, and Krystal was a big factor for us.”
Haley Christian finally hit the first Tazewell bucket, a 22-footer with 7:25 to go in the second period and she nailed another shot on the next series before Taylor Catron’s score edged Tazewell to within 10, 18-8, five minutes before the break.
Webb, who dropped in nine first half points, kept Grundy on pace with her backcourt buddy, Charles. Hash hit a turnaround jumper from the baseline to open the second half, grabbed a rebound at the other end, came back down to bank in a lay-up for Tazewell, then made a free throw in the first two minutes as THS moved to a five-point deficit, 23-18.
Charles answered the onslaught with another high trey for the Lady Wave, in front of another red-hot Hash basket as the shooters began to find the range. Hash nailed a trey from the right side and suddenly Tazewell tied the score at 26-all with 3:30 to go.
“I wanted to win so bad tonight,” sighed a weary Hash. “We tried hard and came so close. This one really hurts.”
Paige Owens scored for Grundy, Saunders hit for the Dogs and Cantrell went inside for the bucket giving GHS a 23-28 advantage inside the final two minutes. Another trey by Charles at the buzzer sent Grundy into the fourth quarter leading, 37-31.
“I didn’t want to lose — I knew this was my last time playing at Tazewell,” said Charles. “Krystal had a great game, too. This really feels good to win.”
Tazewell coach Jason Southworth said, “I thought we had it (win) in the closing seconds but that’s how it goes sometimes. Autumn started going hard to the basket and got us back in the game. We just have to regroup.”
Grundy was 11-of-16 at the line and Tazewell hit 8-for-15.
Grundy hosts East Ridge, Ky., on Dec. 18 while Tazewell travels to Bland this Friday.
at Tazewell Middle School
Morgan Hall 12. Krystal Cantrell 7, Savannah Charles 17 Loni Webb 11, Paige Owens 4, Autumn Sperry 2.
Autumn Hash 16, Whitney Saunders 5, Taylor Catron 9, Haley Christian 14, Brienna Sparks 3.
Grundy........................11 12 14 6 12 — 55
Tazewell........................1 12 18 12 6 — 47
3-point goals: GR 6 (Charles 5, Cantrell 1); TZ 5 (Christian 2, Hash 1, Sparks 1, Catron 1). Fouled out—none.