The Cave Spring High School gym has lacked basketball for nearly two years because of school reconstruction and the pause for COVID-19.
Although the Knights’ varsity girls debuted the new facility last Monday, Friday night featured a rare tripleheader between the Cave Spring-Northside JVs, followed by the varsity girls and boys of both squads that got things rolling in a hurry.
And, rallies were the theme of the night in all three games.
The girls’ varsity game saw Cave Spring finish with a 15-4 run in the last three minutes to pull out the 58-55 win over the Vikings on senior night for the Lady Knights, honoring Madison Hall, Sabrina Landsman, along with all-time Knights’ leading scorer and Appalachian State signee, Zada Porter.
Northside looked to crash the party in the early-going, jumping out to a 12-2 lead before Cave Spring rallied to tie things at 15 after the opening quarter. The Knights led 27-24 at the halftime break, but when Porter picked up her fourth personal foul late in the third, Northside took a 36-34 lead to the final eight minutes.
Northside took advantage of Porter on the bench, and when she finally returned with 3:01 left in the game, the Vikings were looking good with a 51-43 advantage.
But, in stepped Cave Spring sophomore Ava Hibbs who pulled out the lifeline for the Knights by canning two straight bombs from behind the right-side arc that led the way to tying the game at 53 with 1:11 remaining. Porter’s runner put Cave Spring up 55-53, and after Northside pulled even at 55, Porter struck again with a score and harm that she converted with the free throw with 7.3 seconds left. Northside’s final shot was off the mark.
Hibbs was all smiles after the game on her clutch long-range shooting.
“I love that spot on the right wing and I’ve got the green light to take the shot,” the sophomore said. “When I made the first one, I was confident and looking for the ball again.”
Porter and sophomore Katie Caroll led Cave Spring, each scoring a game-high 17 points. Hibbs followed with 10. The Knights hit ten 3-pointers, including 5 from Carroll, Hibbs with three and a pair from sophomore Abhy Smith.
Northside was paced by Samantha Johnson’s 13 points, with Rianna Saunders adding 11 points for the Vikings. Saunders had three hits from behind-the-arc.
In the boys’ varsity nightcap, Northside saw its 43-30 lead after three quarters cut to one point in the final 30 seconds by a swarming Cave Spring full-court press, but the Knights fell just short in the 57-55 win by the Vikings.
Charlie Urgo’s long-range hit from behind-the-arc cut the Viking lead to 55-50 with 2:45 left, and after getting to within one point in the final minute at 56-55, the Knights fouled. Northside hit one-of-two free throws to account for the final margin with 19.6 seconds left, but two Cave Spring shots in the final seconds were off the mark, preventing the wild comeback effort by the Knights from getting over the hump.
Sophomore Stark Jones had a game-high 20 points for Cave Spring, while Urgo poured in 15 and sophomore Dylan Saunders netting 13 for the Knights.
Ayrion Journiette led Northside with 13 points, with Jamison Foley and Lawrence Cole each canning 10 points for the undefeated (6-0) Vikings.
In the boys’ JV opener, Cave Spring held off a late Northside rally to come away with the 51-45 win over their Viking JV counterparts.