There’s a common adage found in virtually every high school sport – it’s not how you start, it’s more important how you finish.
That standard was certainly played out Friday night as Cave Spring topped Southwest County rival Hidden Valley 46-38 in boys basketball before a standing-room only crowd at the Knight’s gym.
Cave Spring,down 16-11 with just under five minutes to play in the first half, called a timeout to reconfigure their strategy and look for a way to cool the Titans ,who had come out of the gates strong. The Knights responded by scoring the last 10 points of the half to take a 21-16 lead to the locker room.
Key shots in the run included a thunderous slam dunk by Cave Spring center Josh Henderson that tied the score and sent the Knight’s home crowd into a frenzy, along with a 3-point bomb from behind the arc by Knight guard Adam Hager that just beat the buzzer.
Henderson’s slam also put him over the 1,000 career point mark at Cave Spring, becoming only the forth Knight player to reach that milestone. Knight alumni and current Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick holds the all-time Cave Spring record with an incredible 2,215 career point total.
Henderson was presented the game ball to commemorate the achievement, and he jogged across the court to give it to his biggest fans, his parents sitting at courtside.
Hidden Valley continued with its tenacious zone defense and motion offense to control the tempo in the third quarter. The Titans stayed within striking distance, and only trailed 33-29 entering the final frame.
Cave Spring opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 spurt, jumping to an 11-point lead,and were content to hold on for the final 8 point margin. Henderson had six of his 11 points in that final stretch as Hidden Valley continally fought to cut the deficit, but were plagued by untimely turnovers.
Clay Lacy led the Knights in scoring with 13 points including three of Cave Spring’s eight 3-pointers.Kevin Draudt and Carter Wright, both juniors,led Hidden Valley with 13 and 11 points respectively.
Cave Spring improved to a perfect 5-0 in its first trip through the always-tough River Ridge schedule. Hidden Valley fell to 1-3 in the district.
Cave Spring head coach Billy Hicks knew Hidden Valley would bring everything it had to the court.”We talked about not being caught by any surprises,” Hicks noted after the game. “We expected them to slow things down and knew we needed to get better against the zone.”
“It’s tough to go 5-0 in the River Ridge,” Hicks added. “I told the guys to enjoy it. We’ve got tough games left on the road at Blacksburg,Salem and Hidden Valley.”
In the varsity girls opener, Hidden Valley was not only strong at the finish, but also at the start and everywhere in between as the River Ridge leaders pulled away to a 64-27 win over the Lady Knights.The Titans opened a 10-point advantage after the first quarter and gradually increased the margin throughout the game as their speed and bench depth were too much to overcome for the scrappy Cave Spring squad.
Hidden Valley had 11 players hit the scoring column,led by senior Kayla Osborne’s 12 points.Meredith Young led the Lady Knights, scoring 9.