Pioneers Stave Off Ashe County, 60-58.... (2016-11-30 14:02:56)

WEST JEFFERSON - The Watauga High boy's basketball team displayed some grit and determination Tuesday night in a 60-58 non-conference win against Ashe County.


The Pioneers (1-1) let an 11-point, third-quarter lead slip away, thanks to a 21-2 run by the Huskies. Junior Grant Thompson keyed the comeback with a pair of buckets that tied the game at 47-all before he gave Ashe County (0-2) its first lead of the night at 49-47 with 3:31 left to play.

"I really believed in our guys," said WHS coach Rob Sanders. "They hung tough and pulled out a win in a hostile enviornment. It's hard to win here. The crowd, especially the student bodies for both schools, were into the game. It's a great atmosphere. I love coming here. It forced our team to deal with adversity. A lot of guys on both team really grew up tonight. Our players didn't panic. Instead they found a way to win this game."

The Huskies extended their lead to 55-47 with 2:30 to go before WHS junior Bryant Greene saved the day.

Greene, who was in foul trouble the majority of the night, finally found his scoring touch in the final stanza. He scored 10 points in the period, and his two free throws with 3.7 seconds left put the Pioneers on top for good.

Judd Price's desperation three at the horn missed its mark and the Pioneers picked up their first win of the year.

"I was nervous at the line with the game tied," Greene said. "I don't know how I made both of those free throws, but I'm glad they went in. I'm thankful. We just stopped rebounding and Corey (West) got hurt late, and that hurt us somewhat on defense. It's a great first win."

"Bryant is the guy I wanted at the line in that situation," Sanders said. "I want the ball in his hands down the stretch. He made some big shots for us in that fourth quarter."

Jeremy Ringler had a career night. He led the Pioneers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Jonathan McClannon had 13 points and seven boards. WHS had four players in double figures.

"It's the best I've ever seen Jeremy play," Sanders said. "He did a great job, and he has the talent to dominate a game. Jonathan is always going 100 miles a hour, and he can shoot it from the outside. We got some great production in the post, and we needed all of those points."

Price, who didn't start because of a foot injury, led the Huskies with a game-high 20 points. Thompson finished with 10.

"And Judd still isn't fully healed," Ashe County coach Nathan Colvard said. "But he still played hard, and he had a great night for us offensively. It was a great game. I'm super proud of our kids. They got down 14-2 early, but they battled back and took a lead late in the game. But we made some crucial turnovers late in the game, and a lot of that is because of our inexperience. A lot of our guys haven't been in those late game situations."


WEST JEFFERSON - The Watauga High girl's basketball team suffered a 40-31 loss to Ashe County Tuesday night.

The Pioneers (0-2), much like they did against Alexander Central in their season opener on November 22, struggled offensively in the first half, allowing Ashe County to build what seemed like a commanding 20-point lead in the third quarter.

The Huskies (2-0), thanks to an 11-0 run, turned an early 8-2 deficit into a 13-8 lead. That advantage ballooned to 21-10 at halftime and 33-13 in the third quarter.

"The magic potion we're looking for right now is getting 11 players to play consistently well," WHS coach Laura Barry said. "We went cold in the second quarter and only scored two points. Our biggest hurdle this season is learning how to win."

Maddisen Robinson turned in her best game as a Pioneer. She finished with a team-high 10 points, and she fueled WHS' 17-5 run that trimmed Ashe County's lead to single digits at 38-30.

"Maddisen played with a lot of intensity tonight," Barry said. "She was all over the floor. She really got us going in the fourth quarter."

Robinson also did a great job defensively on Ashe County's best player, Samantha Woods, holding her to a season-low nine points. The Huskies also aided WHS' comeback attempt by shooting 6-of-15 at the foul line in the second half.

"We just ran out of time," Barry said. "We have to play with that type of intensity for the entire 32 minutes."

Woods led the Huskies with nine points. Chloe Sullivan had eight for the Huskies.

The Huskies take on Avery tonight; WHS travels to Avery on Thursday before the Pioneers and the Huskies hook up at Lentz-Eggers Gym Friday night.

Coverage of WHS' game at Avery Thursday night begins at 6 p.m. on WATA 1450 AM/96.5 FM.


Watauga boys 60, Ashe County 58

Watauga 60 (1-1)

Kapral 4 0-0 11, Henderson 2 0-0 4, McClannon 5 5-6 15, Marinakis 1 0-0 2, 0 1-2 1, Castle 1 0-0 2, Greene 2 5-6 10, Ringler 6 3-5 15, Crabbe 0 0-0 0, Suggs 0 0-0 0, McConnell 0 0-0 0, Z. West 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 14-29 60.

Ashe County 58 (0-2)

Price 3 13-16 20, Hudler 1 1-2 3, Ellis 2 2-2 6, Roland 1 1-2 4, Blevins 1 0-0 2, Poe 3 0-0 7, Thompson 4 2-5 10, Harless 0 1-2 1, Carlton 0 1-2 1, Key 1 2-2 4. Totals 16 23-33 58.

Watauga 16 13 16 15 — 60

Ashe County 9 17 13 19 — 58

3-point goals—Watauga 4 (Kapral 3, Greene), Ashe County 3 (Price, Roland, Poe). Rebounds—Watauga 31 (Ringler 9), Ashe County 33 (Carlton 7). Turnovers—Watauga 13, Ashe County 10. Total fouls—Watauga 26, Ashe County 19. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—Ashe County, Thompson.