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February 17, 2018

2/11/2018 10:16:00 AM
Giles Girls Down Mountaineers In Three Rivers District Tourney
AHS FRESHMAN — Alleghany’s Darcy Ross (24) hits a jumper in a TRD tournament loss to Giles Friday. Ross scored 21 points and pulled in 14 rebounds. (Gavin Dressler Photo)
AHS FRESHMAN — Alleghany’s Darcy Ross (24) hits a jumper in a TRD tournament loss to Giles Friday. Ross scored 21 points and pulled in 14 rebounds. (Gavin Dressler Photo)

News Editor
When the Alleghany Mountaineers posed the question, Giles had an answer.

Hailey Kirk scored 20 points, and the Spartans withstood an Alleghany comeback effort in the second half Friday night for a 72-62 Three Rivers District tournament win at Mountaineer gym.

The Mountaineers and Spartans were playing for the third time in five days, and Giles won the rubber match Friday after each team carded a victory on their home floor earlier in the week.

The win earned the third-seed Spartans, now 13-9 on the season, a Monday date with top-seed Carroll County in the Three Rivers semifinals.

Meanwhile, the Mount-aineers will have over a week to prepare for a Tuesday, Feb. 20, Region 3D matchup with the Blue Demons of Christiansburg.

The Spartans led by as many as 10 in the first half, but the Mountaineers put together an 8-0 run to close the half and whittle their deficit to 27-26.

Catherine Davis knocked down a 3-ball, and a Maggie Rooklin bucket cut the Giles lead to four.

Sierra Wright then closed the first half scoring with a single free throw and an inside basket to send the Mountaineers into the locker room trailing only 27-26.

The game was tied twice early in the third quarter — once on two Bailee Leitch free throws and a little later on a Darcy Ross bucket — and the Mountaineers enjoyed their only lead of the evening when Ross scored again, giving the Mountaineers a brief 38-36 lead.

But an 11-3 Spartan run that ended with a Kirk bucket gave the Spartans a 47-41 advantage.

Ross closed the third-quarter scoring with a bucket that carved the Spartan lead to 48-44.

The Giles lead stood at a dozen, 60-48, near the midpoint of the final period after two Peyton Bailey free throws, but the Mountaineers made one more push.

They whittled their deficit back to 65-61 at the 1:10 mark on an Emma Nicely basket but could get no closer.

A couple of missed box-outs on Spartan free throw misses cost the Mountaineers, and Giles made 5-of-6 from the stripe in the final 25.9 seconds to secure their trip to Carroll County.

“Early, I don’t think we were necessarily ready to play,” said Alleghany coach Jeff Wolfe. “Offensively, we just turned the ball over too much.”

Wolfe was alluding to Spartan pressure that forced 26 Alleghany turnovers on the evening.

Kirk’s 20 points paced four Spartans in double figures. Bailey added 14, while Gracie Merrix had 12 and Layla Maldonado scored 10.

Ross, in what Wolfe termed “a monster game,” led all scorers with 21 points. She rounded out a double-double evening with 14 rebounds.

Wright added 14 points and nine boards for the Mountaineers, who dipped to 10-13 on the season.

The Mountaineers will enter the Region 3D tournament as the seventh seed against No. 2 seed Christiansburg.

The Blue Demons are 17-4 and won the River Ridge District regular season championship.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Wolfe said. “Obviously we’re disappointed tonight, but we’re playing next Tuesday, and that’s something that wasn’t handed to us.

“We got four wins late in the season to earn not just the regionals but to move up into that seventh spot in what we think is a more winnable game for us,” he concluded. “We earned that, and they should be proud of that.”

In other first round Three Rivers District tournament games Friday night, Floyd County bombed James River, 56-10, and Glenvar beat Radford for the third time this week, 41-30.

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