Cave Spring sophomore Dylan Saunders scored a game-high 23 points, and the Knights cruised to the 66-43 win over the visiting William Byrd Terriers Tuesday night in the Cave Spring gym.
The win marked the first victory for the defending Class 3 state championship Knights in their newly remodeled gym after a challenging long run of road games since school construction began in 2019.
Cave Spring rolled out of the gate scoring the game’s first 9 points before holding off a 7-point run by the Terriers to lead 13-9 after the opening quarter. The Knights pushed their advantage to 30-20 at the halftime break, with Saunders scoring 15 of his points by the midway point.
“The strong start was huge for us,” Cave Spring head coach Jacob Gruse noted after the game. “We went on that opening run and Byrd responded with a 7-0 run.”
Fellow-sophomore, and Cave Spring leading scorer Stark Jones, held to one point in the first half, broke out in the third quarter, scoring 11 points to give Cave Spring a 20-point cushion with the Knights up 51-31 heading to the final eight minutes. Jones’ scoring barrage included a trio of bombs from behind-the-arc. Both Gruse, and Terrier head coach Josh Cunningham went to their benches down the stretch, leading to the final 23-point margin.
Gruse was quick to acknowledge the importance of the play of Saunders and Jones. Saunders’ 23 points were a career-high for the 6’7 center.
“We have to stay balanced to have a chance this year. Multiple guys stepping up on different nights.”
“We have to take care of what we can control.” Gruse added. “We have to put ourselves in a good seed for when the regionals come.”
Senior Jacob Tozier added 8 points for the Knights, with senior Charlie Urgo chipping in 6 on a night that 10 Cave Spring players found the score book.
Trevor Ruble paced William Byrd with a team-high 11 points, with Jamie Cauley netting 6 for the Terriers.
The Roanoke County teams wind up regular season play this Friday before regional competition begins next week in what will be a very unusual format.
“Two teams were just added to the regionals and their first game of the season (due to COVID-19 restrictions to date) will be a regional game,” Gruse said. “Wild to say the least.”