|Sanders Earns 100th Career Win|
|Written by Mike Kelly|
|Saturday, 10 December 2011 01:45|
Watauga High men's basketball coach Rob Sanders reached a milestone in his coaching career Friday night. Sanders, now in his eighth year with the Pioneers, was rewarded with his 100th career win (his record is 100-84) as the Pioneers (3-1) staved off a stubborn Avery team 57-48 at Lentz-Eggers Gym in front of a packed house.
He was rewarded by his players as they presented him with an autographed ball after the game.
"It's nice and it's special," Sander said. "But I thank all the players that have played for me over the years. They're the ones that made it possible. I know I yell a lot, and I'm pretty tough on them at times, but I love them all. Every player that's ever played for me is special."
Jake Pifer, who led the Pioneers with a game-high 22 points, presented Sanders with the game ball. He was WHS's only player in double figures for the second game in a row. Sanders also kept his record perfect against the Vikngs (1-2). He's beaten them 16 consecutive times since taking over at WHS in 2004-05.
But the Pioneers gave Sanders some anxious moment on his special night. WHS which built an 11-point lead in the first half and led by ten at halftime, hit a snag offensively in the third quarter.
Just like they did in Tuesday night's loss at West Caldwell, the Pioneers couldn't buy a basket. The end result, the Vikings came charging back to take a 36-35 lead on a fastbreak bucket by Timmy Stewart with 3:44 left in the period. A follow by Matt Proffitt on WHS's next possession allowed the Pioneers to regain the lead at 37-36. And following a pair of ties, Jesse Chasteen put the Pioneers on top to stay at 42-40 as he hit a layup at the horn off a great feed by Proffitt.
Despite those heroics, the Pioneers were outscored 15-7 in the quarter.
"We got some good looks, but our shots just wouldn't fall," Sanders said. "But give Avery a lot of credit. They're scrappy and their guys wouldn't back down. They never allowed us to pull away."
Making matters worse, senior Kyle Chambers rolled his ankle in the third quarter and left the game. But he managed to come back and he played in the fourth quarter. And the Pioneers also put the contest out of reach.
Leading 46-42 a three ball by Pifer gave WHS a seven-point advantage. The Vikings never got any closer than five the rest of the way.
"It's a good win, and now we have to get ourselves ready for (the Northwestern 3A/4A) conference (opener) next week," Sanders said. "And (Fred T.) Foard won't be a pushover. Rob Bliss (the Tigers new head coach) is a heck of a coach. And he doesn't care about their past history of losing games. He's more concerned about his history, and that's building a successful program. They'll be ready for us, we have to make sure we ready for them.
"But like I told our guys after the game, they showed a lot of fight tonight. We didn't give up like we did the other night at West Caldwell. We really earned this win. It's a good stepping stone going into conference next week."
Sturgill and DeWayne Mackey both finished with six points. Ethan Poulos, Ben Margolis and Chasteen all finished with five points apiece. Hunter Sheilds and Stewart paced the Vikings with 13 points each. Alex Villanueva, who really struggled from the get-go, finished with ten.
WHS 57, AVERY 48
1 2 3 4 TOTAL
AVERY: GREENE 1, VILLANUEVA 10, LYONS 3, PITTMAN 4, SHEILDS 13, STEWART 13, WOTELL 4.
WHS: PIFER 22, POULOS 5, PROFFITT 4, MARGOLIS 5, CHASTEEN 5, STURGILL 6, MACKEY 6, CHAMBERS 4.
VIKINGS UPEND WHS WOMEN
The Avery Vikings continued their mastery against the Watauga High women's basketball team Friday night.
AVERY 48, WHS 42
1 2 3 4 TOTAL
AVERY: CLARK 9, DELLINGER 3, RIGDON 4, HEATON 7, ESTEP 5, BURLESON 13, TENNANT 5, BYRD 2.
WHS: WOOD 12, DUNNIGAN 8, MARGOLIS 11, EPPLY 4, DERRICK 2, WILSON 1, McNEILL 4.
FRIDAY NIGHT'S GAMES
AVERY 48, WATAUGA 42
WATAUGA 57, AVERY 48
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