What a difference a week makes.
Only seven days removed from being dominated by William Byrd in the Knights gym 71-46, Cave Spring got a measure of revenge Tuesday night in Vinton, holding off William Byrd 76-69 in the non-district basketball rematch.
“When we played last week it was the first varsity game for most of our team,” Cave Spring head coach Billy Hicks noted as his team celebrated in the locker room. “We started finding ourselves in the second half at Radford last Friday night. Everyone gained confidence.”
Things started out favorably for Byrd Tuesday as the Terriers opened a quick 10-4 lead. But, Cave Spring went on a 17-3 tear to close the first quarter with a 21-13 advantage at the horn.
Both teams ran the court throughout the second quarter and the Knights, hot from the field, gradually increased their lead to 19 points before heading to the halftime break up 43-26.
Byrd came back with authority in the third quarter, chipping away at the Knight lead to get to within 49-46 with 33 seconds left. Cave Spring’s Cager Hicks gave the Knights a big lift when he hit from behind the arc in the last seconds to send the teams to the final eight minutes with Cave Spring clinging to the 52-46 lead.
The Knights opened the fourth quarter on a 10-4 run to go up by twelve points, 62-50. Byrd closed to within four twice down the stretch, the last at 73-69 with 1:22 left. The Terrier’s full-court press was paying dividends, but Byrd was bitten when leading scorer Marvey Otey went down with :53 left after leg cramps. But not before hitting a bucket that national news services were already calling the “Shot of The Year” by launching a behind the back Hail Mary as he careened off the court and then out of the building. CLICK HERE to see the stunning shot.
After a lengthy stoppage in play, Cave Spring inbounded with a long pass that big-man Adam Sledd caught in stride and finished with a slam dunk. Alex Emery hit a fee throw with :23.8 left to make it a three-possession game in clinching the outcome.
“We came out flat and didn’t execute in the first half,” Terrier head coach Kevin Tuck noted afterward. ” We got it down tight late in the game but couldn’t get what we needed to get over the hump. Cave Spring played well.”
“We knew it would be a battle,” Hicks said. “We had to compete. Byrd is loaded with seniors who are a playoff team. You don’t emphasize winning at this point of the season, but this was a nice win for us.”
Cager Hicks led the Cave Spring scoring with 21 points. Sledd added 18, with Brody Hicks netting 10 and Emery chipping in 9.
Otey had a game-high 30 points for William Byrd, with Koty Collier adding 13.
– Bill Turner