The Craig County girls opened the basketball season with two home games last week and picked up a win after losing their opener. The girls fell to Giles but bounced back to beat North Cross.
In the opener with Giles the visiting Spartans pulled out a hard-fought 49-45 win. It was a back-and-forth game for 32 minutes with Craig leading 14-11 after the first quarter before Giles pulled in front 26-23 at the half. Both teams scored 10 points in the third quarter before Giles held on for the win.
“I felt like we should have won this game,” said Craig coach Brock Jones. “We had 47 turnovers in our first game while Giles ended up with 29. I’m hoping to blame it on the first game of the season and all the youth that we have.”
The Spartans also had 36 foul shot attempts to just 24 for the Rockets, and that was a factor in the loss as well.
“We must do a better job of sliding our feet on defense and quit reaching and having what I like to call the ‘lazy’ fouls,” said Jones. “We get frustrated and just want to foul. With the new rule change we can’t afford to just foul for no reason and give the other team an opportunity at the foul line for free points.”
Freshman Kailyn Jones had an eye-opening debut with 31 points, 25 rebounds, eight blocks and five steals. Junior Morgan Underwood had six points and seven boards and Kallie Fisher had three assists, two blocks, two steals and three boards.
“Overall I was pleased to compete in our first game,” said Jones. “We need to focus on boxing out and not standing and looking at the rim. They had a girl attempt 16 foul shots cause we didn’t box out well and the ball fell in her lap and then we started to swat at the ball.”
On Thursday against North Cross the Rockets bounced back with a 48-29 win. The Rockets had a nine point lead at the half, increased it to 11 after three quarters and won going away. Craig allowed just three points in the second quarter and four in the fourth. It was another busy day at the line as North Cross attempted 35 foul shots and Craig shot 28.
“We need to get the opponents’ attempts down to 12 or less for the whole game,” said Jones. “If we can eliminate sending the other team to the foul line so much for free attempts at points, I think our aggressive defense will force them into turning the ball over rather than us bailing them out and sending them to the line. We are capable of playing good man to man defense this year and that’s our tempo.”
Kailyn Jones had another big game with 26 points, 21 boards, seven steals and four blocks. Of the 13 girls on the team 10 scored, with five each for Dailigh Donithan and Madison Underwood. The latter also had six rebounds while Jenna Boitnotte had five steals and four assists. Kallie Fisher had four assists and Brookly Cayton had six steals and played great on the ball defense.
The Rockets were scheduled to return to the court Monday with a game at Meadow Bridge in West Virginia, and Tuesday they go to Roanoke Valley Christian. Next Tuesday, December 11, Highland is here for the first game of a doubleheader with the boys.