It took a Hunter to get Boyd County out of the woods.
Eighth-grader Hunter Reeves drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing with 33 seconds remaining to help lift the Lady Lions to a 51-46 victory over Lewis County on Monday night at Boyd County Middle School.
With the nip-and-tuck affair tied at 46-46, Boyd County senior Morgan Kenser intercepted a passing lane for a steal which led to an easy look for the homestanding Lady Lions.
What followed was an unexpected chain of events. Taylor Wheeler missed a lay-in, and Kenser grabbed the rebound. Kenser was then off-target from point-blank range, and the ball was tipped around like a hot potato before settling into the awaiting hands of Reeves beyond the arc.
Previously 0 for 8 from the floor, Reeves took aim and connected.
“She’d done that before over at a tournament in Chesapeake, where she hadn’t hit a shot all night then hit a three to win the game,” said Boyd County coach Pete Fraley. “I’ve got confidence in her, and she’s got the confidence to step up there and shoot it.”
The timely 3-pointer set the stage for another strong defensive stand for Boyd County.
Lewis County (14-11) called a timeout with 12 seconds to go. Needing a 3-pointer to tie, Lewis County tried desperately to find the slightest bit of daylight to release a shot. There was no such light, though, as Boyd County senior Emily Stewart accounted for a decisive steal before sinking two game-sealing free throws.
“We couldn’t get what we wanted,” said Lewis County coach Jay Fite. “(Boyd County) does a good job of mixing things up (defensively). You follow one thing and then they’re running something different. It’s hard to get into something that you’re comfortable with.”
Boyd County’s Logan Fraley, a sophomore who was recognized prior to tipoff for recently scoring her 1,000th career point, turned in a well-rounded 18-point, seven-rebound performance. She led the team in scoring while playing through first-half foul trouble.
Wheeler chipped in 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting for Boyd County (20-7). The Lady Lions achieved 20 wins for the third straight season.
Fraley, the coach, was exceptionally pleased with his team’s defense. It held Lewis County to just four points in the third quarter.
“We came up with key stops when we had to,” Fraley said. “I thought our defense did a nice job of taking some stuff away. Caitlin Coburn came in (off the bench) and did a nice job on Savannah (Anderson) in the post. Taylor and Logan were very active, deflected a lot of passes.”
Lewis County shot 47 percent overall, including an 11-of-17 start behind hot-shooting Taylor Frye, but it turned the ball over 21 times compared to just eight by Boyd County.
Frye made her first six shot attempts. Emily Frye, of no relation to Taylor, contributed 11 points and five assists. Anderson tallied 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
Lewis County has won nine of its last 12 games.
“They struggled early, but played a nice schedule,” Fraley said. “They’re a contender (in the 16th Region), no doubt about it.”
Fite said his young team, which made history last season by becoming the first Lewis County girls basketball team to advance to the region semifinals, is still maturing.
“When we came (to Boyd County Middle) two years ago, we were frightened little children,” Fite said. “I keep reiterating (to my team) that we’re a different team. We’re growing.”
Boyd County hosts East Carter tonight. Lewis County is at Augusta.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.