The name of the town became the name of the game.
Boyd County junior forward Grayson Griffith helped turn a yawner into a breathtaker as the Lions outlasted East Carter, 55-52, on Thursday night at Harold Holbrook Athletic Complex East in Grayson.
After East Carter’s Trenton Welsh drained a top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to tie the game at 52 apiece, Boyd County nearly ran too far.
Marcus Jarrell found himself underneath the basket with defenders closing in along the baseline, but the tightroping guard flipped a pass to Griffith who was awaiting his chance. A baseline 3-point jumper hit bottom with 6 seconds to go.
Said Griffith afterward: “I knew there was at least five seconds left on the clock. Marcus made a good pass to me and there was nobody around me. It was just a good look.”
On the ensuing possession, East Carter was unable to get a shot off amid solid Boyd County pressure as the game went final.
Griffith led the Lions (16-9) with 18 points, and was 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. Of the six lead changes that went in Boyd County’s favor, Griffith accounted for three of them.
Boyd County played the final 4:26 without season leading scorer Austin Hunt. Hunt had 11 points and nine rebounds before exiting with intense cramps in both calves.
The Lions trailed by five at the time, but responded with a 13-5 run to end the game.
“Everybody else just picked up,” said Boyd County coach Randy Anderson. “That’s just been kind of a trait we’ve been seeing out of this team.”
Jesse Wallace scored all six of his points in the final four minutes to help hold off the Raiders.
Quinn Huddle and Connor Greene shared team-high honors with 15 points, while Welsh added 11.
East Carter (10-15) played without three starters — leading scorer/rebounder Kyle Stewart (sprained ankle), Jordan Burchett (torn ligaments in ankle) and Cole Brammer (broken nose).
The Raiders made up for the void by using outstanding effort to follow through on a game plan. They limited a good-shooting Boyd County team to 38 percent from the floor. Griffith’s three 3s were the only long balls in 12 attempts.
Anderson wasn’t surprised, considering who his coaching counterpart was.
“A Brandon Baker team plays extremely hard,” Anderson said. “You had better have your shorts tied and be ready to play. We didn’t match their intensity the first half.”
Said Baker: “We couldn’t feel sorry for ourselves (with the injuries). It opened up minutes for other people. A lot of guys did a lot of good things for us.”
Boyd County trailed 13-9 after one quarter, and 26-23 at halftime. The Raiders turned the Lions over 11 times in the first 16 minutes.
The Lions played a more sound second half, topping it off with good late-game movement with and without the ball.
“It just came down to making plays,” Anderson said.
Boyd County travels to Fairview tonight. East Carter hosts Rowan County on Monday.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.