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Tucker downs Grafton

by Chris Errington

SPORTS WRITER

GRAFTON -- Tucker County looked like the Tucker County of old -- at least for one night.

Combining tight defense with timely scoring, Tucker County grabbed an early lead against Grafton, fought off a comeback bid and finally pulled away for a 38-26 victory Tuesday night.

Rachel Knotts scored a game-high 11 points for Tucker County (4-7), which led 19-9 at halftime. Despite holding Grafton (6-5) to just 21 percent shooting (8-38), the Mountain Lions needed a 10-1 run to start the fourth quarter to preserve the victory. Grafton's shooting woes were best typified during the quarter when it made just one of 10 shots and committed eight turnovers.

"This is a big win. All year long we've done a good job defensively and we did it again tonight," Tucker County coach David Kyle said. "Offensively we missed too many shots, but in the second half we converted more. It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it."

Tucker County shot just 27 percent from the field, but was able to hold the lead throughout thanks in part to six more field goals on 13 more attempts.

Julie Bolyard led Grafton, which scored in double digits in only the third quarter, with seven points. The Bearcats committed 23 turnovers, many of which coach Rich Bord blamed on their shooting problems.

"Whenever you hold a team like Tucker County to 38 points, you have to beat them," he said. "The last few years, I don't think we held Tucker County to 38 points in a quarter. Kids that normally step up didn't get it done. We had plenty of opportunities."

Kellie Snyder banked in a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to give Tucker County a 12-5 lead, before Grafton missed the front end of a pair of one-and-ones during the final 19 seconds of the first half to trail 19-9 at intermission.

A 7-2 run helped Grafton pull within 21-16 early in the third quarter and the Bearcats tailed 26-21 heading into the fourth quarter, but got no closer.

"We've had a real lack of continuity," Bord said. "We're not playing well consistently on defense and when we finally start doing that, we'll get a streak going. The next few ball games, our schedule gives us a chance to build a lot of momentum. It's time for these kids to step up."

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