The Watuaga High girls basketball team can't be faulted for lack of effort. The Pioneers (7-10 overall; 2-5 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference), mired in a three-game losing streak, made a furious comeback attempt Wednesday only to fall short.
Fred T. Foard, which has beaten the Pioneers three consective times, survived the late charge and beat WHS 46-42 at Jerry Capos Gymnasium in Newton, N.C. The win also moves Fred T. Foard (13-6; 6-1) into a first-place tie with Hickory in the NW3A/4A standings.
The Pioneers had a chance to tie the game. But a wide open, three-point shot attempt by Clare Harris rimmed out with 1.3 seconds left to play. Chelsea Turner grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and made one of two free throws to put the contest out of reach.
"We were in it until the end," said WHS coach Klay Anderson. "I was estatic. We were right there. I don't care if we've lost three in a row. I have a great group of girls that play hard every night, and that gives us a chance every time we step on the floor. I don't have any quitters on this team."
The Tigers led 44-35 with five minutes to play. But the Pioneers, led by Hannah Margolis and Savanna wood, cut the lead down to three. A stick back by Magolis with 20-seconds left made it, 45-42. Margolis and Wood combined for seven points on WHS' final run.
"We had a chance to win, a chance to tie," Anderson said. "But we made some key turnovers down the stretch that hurt us. But I felt we came down here and fought hard tonight. It shows the heart of this program and the heart of our players."
WHS baffled Fred T. Foard with its 2-3 zone defense in the second quarter. The Tigers, an athletic team loaded with speed, was brought to a standstill by the Pioneers. In turn, WHS, which trailed early by six, came back to take a three-point lead late in the first half.
"When you're playing a team with size, you want to pack it in," Anderson said. "Sure, they're going to make some threes, but if we stay consistent on offense, we're going to get those points back. The zone also gave us a chance to rebound and to limit them to one shot. It negated their size advantage, and it gave us a chance to compete."
Margolis had a monster game for WHS. The senior finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. She also had three steals and three assists. Wood finished with ten points, all of those coming in the second half.
"We needed Hannah to carry us in the first half," Anderson said. "The way they were guarding her gave her a chance to dribble drive in the lane. And when you give any guard that kind of opportunity, you've got to attack the basket. They overplayed her, and she took advantage of it."
Margolis carried WHS with 11 points in the first half. Kaelin McNeill had six points and eight rebounds. Turner paced the Tigers with 14 points; Kayla Whitington had 11 points. The Pioneers take on the Tigers in a rematch at Lentz-Eggers Gym Monday night.
"When you have kids that play hard, anything can happen," Anderson said. "We've shown Fred T. Foard that we can play, that we're a competitive team. And if we make some key shots on Monday, we're walking away with a victory."
Coverage Monday night begins at 6 p.m. on Oldies 100.7 FM.
NOTES: The WHS JV girls defeated Foard, 34-20. Madi Brown led the JV team with nine points. Brooklin Carroll had seven points; Rachel Foutz had six points....Fred T. Foard owns a 5-4 lead in the all-time series against WHS.
FRED T. FOARD 46, WATAUGA 42
Score By Periods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Watauga 13 10 10 9 - 42
Fred T. Foard 13 12 14 7 - 46
WHS: WOOD 10, MARGOLIS 15 (15 REBOUNDS, 3 ASSISTS, 3 STEALS), HARRIS 6, McNEILL 6 (8 REBOUNDS), LOFLIN 1, WELSH 4. FG: 13, 3FG: 2, FT: 10-17.
THREE-POINTERS: HARRIS 2.
FTF: HULL 2, HOYLES 7, ROBINSON 4, WHITINGTON 11, TURNER 14, SKEEN 4, TIPPS 4. FG: 11, 3FG: 5, FT: 9-17.
THREE-POINTERS: HOYLE 2, TURNER 2, ROBINSON.
NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A CONFERNCE
FRED T. FOARD 46, WATAUGA 42
ALEXANDER CENTRAL 51, ST. STEPHENS 39
FRED T. FOARD 53, WATAUGA 49
ST. STEPHENS 67, ALEXANDER CENTRAL 58
SOUTH CALDWELL @ FRED T. FOARD
ALEXANDER CENTRAL @ HICKORY
ST. STEPHENS @ HIBRITEN
WATAUGA - BYE
HICKORY 6-1; 17-1
FRED T. FOARD 6-1; 13-6
ALEXANDER CENTRAL 6-2; 17-3
HIBRITEN 3-4; 7-11
SOUTH CALDWELL 3-4; 6-10
WATAUGA 2-5; 7-10
ST. STEPHENS 0-8; 3-16
HICKORY 6-1; 15-3
FRED T. FOARD 6-1; 16-3
ST. STEPHENS 6-2; 15-5
SOUTH CALDWELL 4-4; 6-10
WATAUGA 3-4; 9-7
HIBRITEN 1-6; 8-10
ALEXANDER CENTRAL 0-8; 7-13