By RODNEY YOUNG
Max Meadows – Fort Chiswell got some redemption in the opening round of the First Bank of Virginia Tournament being held at Fort Chiswell High School, by defeated the Auburn Eagles 59-44. The two teams played six days ago with Auburn coming out on top in Riner.
The Pioneers found themselves down 16-13 after the opening quarter, but would outscore them in the other three. Daniel Hamm led the Pioneers with 14 points and Dylan Hale came off the bench to score 10 points. Three Pioneers, Coleman Thomas, Desmond Perry and Brett Mabry, all chipped in with eight points each.
Auburn guard Jessie Rutledge led them in scoring with 15 and Jake Shelburne had 10. The Eagles are now 5-3 on the season and the Pioneers improved to 2-2.
Derrick Jackson, head coach of the Pioneers said, “we attacked their zone better tonight than the last time we played. I thought we played much better half court defense and we concentrated more on Simpkins (Dustin) tonight.” Simpkins lit the Pioneers up the last time, scoring 25 points. The Pioneers held him to just two points in this game.
Fort Chiswell will take on the Carroll County Cavaliers in the next round of games, who beat George Wythe 71-42 tonight. The Cavaliers (7-0) were lead by Connor Lundy’s 14 points. He had plenty of help as Ryan Gravley had 12 points, Blake Dalton had 11, and Gunnar Beamer had 10 points.
The Maroons (0-3) got 15 points from guard Isaac Baltazar.
In other action on the opening day of the tournament, the Radford Bobcats destroyed the Grayson County Blue Devils 70-44. Radford got 23 points from forward Nate Jones and DeAndre Cook finished with 10 points coming off the bench. Grayson got 21 points from Max Rodgers in the the loss. Radford improved to 7-1 and Grayson falls to 5-2.
The opening game of the tournament saw the Floyd Buffaloes beat the Graham G-Men 88-76. Floyd found themselves down 33-17 with 5:20 before halftime. The Buffaloes would then cut the margin to seven at intermission, 43-36.
Floyd started the the second half on a 8-0 run to go up 44-43. The two teams then would exchange the lead five times, with the Buffaloes leading 61-59 going into the fourth quarter. Floyd would outscore the G-men 27-17 in the the fourth to pull out the big comeback of the day and get the victory.
Floyd (8-1) got 37 points from junior Caleb Tanner, with Preston Neukirch scoring 16 points and Brandon Lemons chipping in with 14 points.
Graham (5-3) got 26 points from sophomore point guard Tony Hood.