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Cougars Trip Up WHS Girls, 48-46.... (2016-11-23 19:49:22)

BOONE - The Watauga High girl's basketball team staged a furious second-half rally, but the Pioneers came up short in a 48-46 loss to Alexander Central in the season opener for both teams at Lentz-Eggers Gym.

 

The loss also spoiled the head-coaching debut of Laura Berry. But despite the loss, Berry was upbeat about her team.

"Down eight at halfitme, I wasn't worried at all," Berry said. "We made some mistakes, and we were sloppy at times. But to come out of that half only eight down, I felt fortunate. I acutally told my assistants, 'we get within two to start the fourth quarter, we're going to be in great shape.'"

The Pioneers (0-1), who built an early 5-0 lead, eventually fell behind by 11 points in the first half before they trailed 26-18 at halftime. But the Pioneers rallied and outscored the Cougars (1-0) 13-7 in the third quarter, narrowing the gap to 33-31. The Pioneers finally took a 42-39 lead in the final stanza.

Mattie Barr of the Cougars (1-0) capped off a 5-0 run and gave the Cougars a shortlived 44-42 advantage before Alden McClure answered for WHS tying the game with 1:10 left to play.

But a bucket by Kacey Payne on a stick-back and a pair of free throws by Abby Cook gave the Cougars a four-point lead with 30.4 seconds left. McClure scored on WHS' next possession, making it 48-46.

"I really feel Alden will have a great year," Berry said. "We knew we could go to her inside. We're working on her to be our best rebounder. She has a feel for the ball. I'm excited for all our post player (Katherine Stapleton and Olivia Williamson). That rotation in the middle is solid."

Barr had a chance to ice the game at the free-throw line with seven seconds left, but she missed both of her attempts. WHS got the rebound and pushed it up the floor.

Point guard Karson Hamrick found freshman, Rebekah Farthing, who was wide open in the near corner. But her three-point attempt rimmed out at the horn.

"If (Barr) would have made the free throw, I would have called a time out to draw something up," Berry said. "But I want to let them play. I trust my point guard. Karson is a senior. Ball in her hands, she pushed it down. She could have taken the shot, but she found the open player. It was a good heads up play. It's a winnable game."

Cook paced the Cougars (1-0) with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. Keykey Miller had 10 points and seven rebounds in the win. McClure led the Pioneers with 10 points. Maddie Darner, who was in foul trouble for the majority of the game, finished with eight points; Maddisen Robinson, who fouled out with 30 seconds left, had seven points and four assists. Katherine Stapleton had seven rebounds, five were offensive boards.

WHS' Achilles was its free-throw shooting. The Pioneers were 11-of-23 at the charity stripe, and they were outrebounded 39-35 by the Cougars.

"We lost the free throw and the rebound battle," Berry said. "You're not going to win many games losing both those phases of the game. But I felt the entire team had butterflies tonight, even the seniors. The girls were so anxious to play this game. When you're playing a good team like this, it makes things a little tougher."


ALEXANDER CENTRAL BOYS 68, WHS 58


BOONE - The Watuaga High boy's basketball team got its season off to a tough start, dropping a 68-58 decision to Alexander Central at Lentz-Eggers Gym in the season opener for both teams.

The Cougars (1-0), led by Kaleb Parsons and Noah Presnell, built a 20-10 lead after one. That lead grew to 14 points in the second quarter before the Pioneers (0-1) rallied and narrowed the gap to three points at 32-29 on a three ball by Kevin Kapral early in the third quarter.

"It's tough playing against Alexander Central's zone defense," said WHS coach Rob Sanders. "It's been the staple of their program since Ed Wills took over as head coach. It's always given us issues. But we didn't do a very good job executing. We're not making excuses. We didn't play well tonight. These guys know what to do, but they have to rise to the challenge."

A slam dunk by Justin Dula and a three ball by Matt Graham stretched the Cougars lead to 37-29 before a three by Bryant Green and a three by Hayden Henderson made it 40-37 late in the third quarter.

"I was proud the way we came back," Sanders said. "It could have been a blowout by halftime. They put together a run and started pulling away in the third quarter, but our guys responded and we made some huge buckets. We got ourselves back in it. We did a good job keeping the game compeitive against a very athletic team."

But a late three by Blan Hodges to close out the third quarter and consecutive buckets by Matt Wilkinson and Hodges made it 47-37 and the Pioneers never got any closer than six points the rest of the way.

Parsons led the Cougars with a game-high 19 points and nine rebounds. Presnell finished with 16 points, and Hodges had 13 points, including three trifectas.

Green and Kapral paced the Pioneers with 15 points a piece. Kapral had four threes in the loss.

"(Alexander Central) are long and athletic," Sanders said. "They also shot the ball very well. Every time we got it close, they made some big shots and kept pulling away. They're tough to match up with. We did get an inside presence against their zone, and it gave us some nice looks on the outside. But we got frustrated in the third quarter, and we started passing the ball around the perimeter. We have to play smarter and know our roles to be successful. We have to do the little things better than our opponents because we're going to be outsized and outmanned against every team we play. We have to value the basketball."

The WHS basketball teams travel to Ashe County next Tuesday night. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WATA 1450 AM/96.5 FM.

 


Alexander Central girls 48, Watauga 46

Alexander Central 48 (1-0)
Cook 7-12 8-12 23, Payne 1-1 0-0 2, Anthony 0-3 1-4 1, Barr 0-6 5-8 5, Miller 5-14 0-0 10, Robles 0-0 0-0 0, Glenn -4 0-0 4, Sharpe 0-0 3-3 3. Totals 15-40 17-27 48.

Watauga 46 (0-1)
Williamson 0-0 2-3 2, McClure 5-9 0-0 10, Hamrick 1-11 3-4 5, Robinson 3-6 1-3 7, Darner 3-8 1-4 8, Byrd 3-6 0-1 6, Farthing 1-6 2-4 4, Haas 0-1 0-0 0, Gould 1-4 0-1 2, Stapleton 0-1 2-3 2. Totals 17-52 11-23 46.

Alexander Central 11 15 7 15 — 48
Watauga 7 11 13 15 — 46

3-point goals—Alex Central 1-5 (Cook 1-2, Anthony 0-1, Miller 0-2), Watauga 1-8 (Darner 1-1, Robinson 0-1, Gould 0-1, Farthing 0-2, Hamrick 0-3). Rebounds—Alex Central 39 (Cook 12), Watauga 35 (Stapleton 7). Assists—Alex Central 11 (Anthony, Barr 3), Watauga 12 (Robinson 4). Turnovers—Alex Central 28, Watauga 25. Total fouls—Alex Central 18, Watauga 24. Fouled out—Watauga, Robinson. Technical fouls—Alex Central, Team.

 

Alexander Central boys 68, Watauga 58

Alexander Central 68 (1-0)
Parsons 7-10 4-6 19, Dula 4-5 0-2 8, Graham 2-4 3-6 9, Hodges 4-8 2-4 13, Presnell 5-8 4-8 16, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Mahaffey 0-0 0-0 0, Blanekship 0-0 0-2 0, Wilkinson 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 23-36 14-30 68.

Watauga 58 (0-1)
McClannon 3-6 1-3 7, Greene 4-8 7-9 15, Ringler 2-4 1-2 5, Kapral 4-12 3-3 15, Henderson 2-5 1-2 6, Crabbe 1-2 0-0 2,Marinakis 0-6 5-6 5, Klein 0-0 0-0 0, West 0-0 0-0 0, Currence 1-1 1-3 3. Totals 17-44 19-28 58.

Alexander Central 20 10 13 25 — 68
Watauga 10 11 16 21 — 58

3-point goals—Alex Central 8-14 (Hodges 3-6, Graham 2-2, Presnell 2-4, Parsons 1-2), Watauga 5-18 (Kapral 4-10, Henderson 1-3, Marinakis 0-2, Greene 0-3). Rebounds—Alex Central 29 (Parsons 9), Watauga 27 (Ringler 6). Assists—Alex Central 18 (Hodges 6), Watauga 11 (Greene, Henderson 3). Turnovers—Alex Central 18, Watauga 17. Total fouls—Alex Central 23, Watauga 26. Fouled out—Watauga, Greene, Marinakis. Technical fouls—None.

 

TUESDAY'S GAMES
GIRLS

ALEXANDER CENTRAL 48. WATAUGA 46
R-S CENTRAL 60. McDOWELL 47
ASHE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 72. AVERY 66
ASHE COUNTY 60, BUNKER HILL 30
HICKORY 72, NEWTON-CONOVER 34
ST. STEPHENS 65, WEST IREDELL 42

BOYS

ALEXANDER CENTRAL 68, WATUAGA 58
McDOWELL 65, R-S CENTRAL 54
ST. STEPHENS 68, WEST IREDELL 65
BUNKER HILL 46, ASHE COUNTY 43
ASHE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 52, AVERY 46
HICKORY 67, NEWTON-CONOVER 20



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