EMORY, Va. – Two days of intense practice following a tough defeat gave the Chilhowie Warriors a renewed focus.
Junior Dylan Catron pumped in 23 points and Chilhowie overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit to notch a 76-73 win over Northwood on Saturday in a one-game Hogoheegee District boys basketball playoff at Patrick Henry High School.
The Warriors (13-9) wrapped up a VHSL Region 1D tournament bid and also earned the top seed in the Hogoheegee tourney.
The showdown between the Smyth County rivals was made necessary after Chance Moore’s buzzer-beating shot gave Northwood an 80-79 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday and created a deadlock atop the Hogoheegee standings.
Chilhowie went back to work after the gut-wrenching loss.
“We wanted revenge,” Catron said. “That hurt us losing at home at the buzzer on Senior Night. We were really motivated. We practiced really hard on Thursday and Friday so we could come in here and win.”
Chilhowie raced out to a 9-2 lead, but that fast start became just a footnote in a tight game.
There were eight lead changes and six ties by the time it was all said and done.
Northwood (10-12) led 47-35 with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter, while Chilhowie built a 70-60 advantage with 3:16 left in the game.
However, things weren’t decided until Northwood’s Alex Tuell missed the mark on a potential game-tying 3-point attempt at the final horn.
“They gave us a tough fight,” said Chilhowie coach Matt Snodgrass. “They do every time we play them. That’s the way it should be. Two close towns, district rivals. It’s fun and that’s what basketball’s all about.”
Northwood coach Randy Vaughn echoed similar sentiments.
“Both teams just laid it on the line and played their hearts out,” he said. “It just came down to the end and the other night we made the shot and today we missed the shot.”
Northwood’s Luke Carter, the Hogoheegee District’s leading scorer, picked up his fourth foul with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Even with Carter on the bench, Northwood extended its lead to a dozen.
“We knew they were going to go on a run at some point in the game,” Catron said. “But we just had to take the punches and knew we had to come back fighting and we did that.”
With Catron keying the charge, Chilhowie got within one point at the end of the third quarter. His two free throws with 6:46 remaining in the game put the Warriors ahead to stay.
Catron finished with 10 rebounds too as he and Jake Kegley (12 points, 10 rebounds) cleaned up on the glass.
“We won the rebounding battle,” Snodgrass said. “I kept telling the guys, no matter what the deficit, we’re going to keep outrebounding them and that was the difference.”
Jacob Thompson (12 points) and Zack Cale (11 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, five steals) also played well down the stretch.
“I thought it was a total team effort,” Snodgrass said.
Carter fouled out with 5:06 remaining after scoring 16 points. Tuell (17 points), Spencer Carter (12 points), Jacob Trivett (10 points) and Mike Frye (10 points) scored in double digits for the Panthers.
“I’m just super proud of my kids,” Vaughn said. “We just couldn’t hit the shot there at the end.”