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Cave Spring Rolls To 62-34 Win Over Byrd In Season Opener

The William Byrd Terriers basketball team made the cross-county trek to Cave Spring and Southwest County Tuesday night for the season opener for both teams.

Once the game started, Byrd must have thought they were trying to shoot inside Sherwood Forest.

Taking advantage of a significant height advantage, Cave Spring jumped out to a 18-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as the Knights rolled to the 62-34 win.

Led by 6ft8 and D-1 Fairleigh-Dickenson commit Dylan Saunders, along with 6ft6 Kam Tinsley, the Knights made things tough on Byrd all evening on both ends of the court. Add in a 19-point performance by senior Stark Jones, who was a first-team All-State pick during the Knights’ Class-3 state championship run last season, and Byrd spent much of the night looking to an answer to Cave Spring’s lineup.

Tinsley finished with 12 points, with Saunders adding 11, but the height factor made a trip into the paint a major challenge for the Terriers.

Cave Spring head coach Jacob Gruse was pleased with his team’s performance.

“I thought we played well, “Gruse noted after the win. “I was pleased with our defensive effort and our effort on the glass. Offensively we executed well at times. Good first game.”

Gruse also noted the key roles of Jones, Saunders and Tinsley.

“Those big three played well. Glad they are on our team and very proud of them. It will be a collective effort again this year from all of our players.”

Cave Spring’s Kam Tinsley (#20) puts up a jumper over a pair of Byrd defenders in the Knights’ 62-34 win Tuesday night. Tinsley finished with 12 points for the game.

The Knights pushed their lead to 34-14 at the halftime break and increased it to 30 points in the third quarter before the subs took over. That still presents problems for opponents, with seven members of the Knights’ roster checking in at 6ft3 or taller. Most got time on the hardwood Tuesday night.

“It’s huge to have all our guys getting game time,” Gruse added. “It gets them early experience and we need those guys ready every game. We have confidence in all 12 of our players.”

The Knights led 54-25 heading to the final eight minutes, and Terrier head coach Brad Greenway made several adjustments to get the Terrier ship righted before the final 62-34 margin.

Cave Spring also got 9 points from Cam Parker, while Bays Bryant and Graham Lilley tossed in 6 and 5 points, respectfully. The Knights hit on 9 shots from behind-the-arc, including 3 from Jones, 2 each from Tinsley and Saunders, along with bombs from Bryant and Lilley.

Byrd was led by junior guard Titus Blalock’s 9 points, with senior Jaiden Childress and sophomore Hayden Eads scoring 8 points apiece. Eads had two of the Terriers’ 4 hits from long range.

Once again, the Cave Spring student body turned out in huge numbers, validating their standard as an influential sixth-man.

“Our student section is amazing, “Gruse pointed out. “Our team feeds off their enthusiasm every game. They love our program.”

These same two teams will meet on the Terrier hardwood for a rematch next Tuesday night.

“We’ll be back at practice Wednesday to refocus on our weaknesses and continue to build on our strengths,” Gruse said.

– Bill Turner




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