The weekend forecast was for heavy snow arriving in Southwest Roanoke County Sunday morning.
Few were expecting the Cave Spring basketball team to bring an avalanche two nights earlier.
Using a smothering defense that continually created scoring opportunities, and a high-powered offense that saw eleven different Knights light up the scoreboard, Cave Spring ran roughshod over Southwest County rival Hidden Valley Friday night in the Titan gym on their way to a convincing 86-30 victory.
It was the largest margin of victory in the 20-year history of the Knight-Titan basketball showdown.
Cave Spring was racing on all cylinders out of the gate Friday night, pulling out to leads of 26-11 after one quarter and 51-16 heading to the halftime break.
Hidden Valley, fresh off a spectacular comeback 87-81 overtime win over Christiansburg this past Tuesday in which they rallied from a third quarter 20-point deficit to score 33 points in the fourth, was hoping for a repeat of those late heroics. The Knights kept any chance of it happening totally off the launchpad.
“I think our guys were excited about playing this game,” Cave Spring head coach Jacob Gruse noted afterward. “It’s a rivalry game and it means a lot to them. They wanted it tonight.”
If the balanced scoring by the Knights doesn’t throw any opposing team a curve, the full-court suffocating defense provides the dagger.
Eleven different Cave Spring players hit the scorebook Friday night. Despite 86 points, the top scorer for the Knights, Bays Bryant, only canned 14 points and isn’t even a starter. Four juniors followed for the Knights as Stark Jones scored 12, with Graham Lilley, Kam Tinsley and Dylan Saunders each throwing down 10. Bryce Cooper added 8 and Joe Ihlenburg contributed 6. Cave Spring improved to 13-1;(6-0 River Ridge) on the season while the Titans fell to 2-13; (1-5 River Ridge).
“Total team effort on the scoring side,” Gruse added. “All our guys had a huge part in the team win. It all starts with defense. That’s the way I was coached to play and that’s what I believe in. Our guys take pride in our D.”
Philip Smith led Hidden Valley with 7 points. Joey Strong and Tyus Johnson followed with 6 points each, and Israel Guerrero chipped in 5. Johnson, Strong and Tegen Smith, who combined for 56 points in the win over Christiansburg, were held to a combined 15 points by the Knights.
Cave Spring pushed its lead to 74-25 after three quarters, and with Gruse continually bringing in the subs in rotations, the backups finished off the final margin.
Once again, the Cave Spring student section played the role of the sixth man, turning the arena into a madhouse of mayhem favoring the Knights. Their role was not lost on Gruse.
“Our student section is unreal this year. Can’t thank them enough for being our 6th man. They go with us everywhere and I’m so thankful for them and what they bring to the team. We feed off their energy. The best basketball student section!”
No doubt, and a group that rattles the opposition like being in a house of horrors.