The Watauga High men's basketball team suffered its third consecutive loss Tuesday night.
The Highlanders, thanks to a strong second-half perfomrance by Dylan McClellan, defeated WHS 56-50 in a non-conference game
at Lentz-Eggers Gym. The win by Cloudland (7-7) avenged an overtime loss to the Pioneers (4-4) in the season opener for both teams on November 22 in Roan Mountain, TN. McClellan scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half as the Highlanders, who snapped a three-gamd slide, wiped out a two-point halftime deficit.
Ironically, only five players scored for the Highlanders, but three of those players----McClellan, Zac Potter and Taylor Whtiehead---did all the damage as they combined for 48 points. And it was McClellan's three ball with 4:17 to play in the third period gave Cloudland a 34-32 lead, and put the Highlanders on top to stay.
"And we made it easy, especially for him," said WHS coach Rob Sanders. "(McClellan) took the game over in the second half, but we helped out by not playing tough defense. They had too many easy looks, and they're a scrappy bunch. There's no quit in those guys. I knew they weren't going to go away."
The Highlanders extended their lead to nine points at 43-34 at the end of the third quarter. But the Pioneers, led by Jake Pifer, who finished with 17 points, put together an eight-point run to start the fourth quarter. And a three pointer by Pifer to cap off the run made it 43-42 with 6:34 left. But McClellan's three moments later extended the lead to four points.
"We really hurt ourselves tonight because we didn't play team basketball," Sanders said. "We did a great job working the ball and creating some great scoring chances in the second quarter. We went on a huge run and took an eight point lead. But then we just broke down. We're making it a habit of letting teams back into the game."
A 13-0 run in the second quarter gave WHS it's biggest lead of the game at ten points. The Pioneers errupted for 19 points in the period. But Cloudland narrowed the gap to a field goal at the intermission. And the Highlanders carried that momentum into the second half.
"Cloudland always plays us tough," Sanders said. "We saw that during the summer. They just outworked us in the second half. This was a costly lesson for our guys. As a coaching staff, we're stressing a strong team concept on offense and defense, and if you don't respond to it, then you're not going to play. And if we have to lose games doing that, then that's the way it's going to be."
A bucket and a free throw by Potter gave Cloudland at 49-42 lead with 3:04 to play. The Pioneers never got any closer than five points the rest of the way. And a three-point play by McClellan with a little more than a minute to play put it out of reach at 54-46.
Matt Proffitt, who fouled out with 47 seconds left, had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Pioneers. Kyle Chambers had eight points, including a pair of threes. Potter finished with 18 points for the Highlanders; Whitehead had 10.
CLOUDLAND 56, WHS 50
1 2 3 4 TOTAL
CLOUDLAND 10 15 18 13 - 56
WATAUGA 8 19 7 16 - 50
CLOUDLAND: CARNETT 6, HILL 2, POTTER 18, WHITEHEAD 10, McCLELLAN 20.
WHS: PIFER 17 (6 REBOUNDS), PROFFITT 12 (7 REBOUNDS), MARGOLIS 4, HOWSER 2, CHASTEEN 2, KOPPENHAVER 2, STURGILL 3, CHAMBERS 8.
CLOUDLAND, RHODES ROLL OVER PIONEERS
The Watauga High women's basketball was victimized by an old teammate Tuesday night at Lentz-Eggers Gym.
Brooke Rhodes, who was WHS's best player a year ago, came back to her old stomping grounds and led her new team, Cloudland High, to a 60-30 non-conference win. Rhodes scored a game-high 19 points and led three players in double figures. Courtney Wilson finished with 14 points; Sydney Miller poured in 12 on the strength of four trifectas.
"Cloudland has an excellent team," said WHS coach Klay Anderson. "They came after us and forced us into a lot of mistakes. To make it short and sweet, we just didn't play very well."
The Highlanders (11-2), who won their sixth game in a row, led 21-9 after one, and led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter before the Pioneers (2-6) put together a five-point run right before halftime that narrowed the gap at 34-21.
"I was proud of my girls the way they finished the first half," Anderson said. "But Cloudland does a good job moving the ball inside and outside. But we didn't play well at all. No excuses. That's what really disappoints me the most."
The Highlanders put the game away by outscoring the Pioneers 14-2 in the third quarter. That gave Cloudland a commanding 25 point lead. Savanna Wood led the Pioneers with nine points; Kaelin McNeill had six.
"We've got to play better than we did tonight," Anderson said. "We've just got to keep working at it. Cloudland is a very good basketball team, but we have to compete much better than we did tonight. We went through the motions during parts of tonight's game, and you can't do that against a quality opponent."
The WHS men and women travel to Moravian Falls to play Wllkes Central Thursday night. Our coverage of that game begins at 6 p.m on Oldies 100.7 FM.
NOTES: The Cloudland women are 3-0 lifetime against the Pioneers.....Cloudland beat the JV girls 43-35. Clare Harrris and Ellie Sloboda each had ten points apiece for the Pioneers. Rachel Foutz had eight. The JV girls are 2-8......The JV boys are 10-0. They defeated Cloudland 74-35 by outscoring the Highlanders 49-16 in the second half. Jake Chasteen had 15 points, five steals and nine rebounds; Cameron Baker had 14 points and 11 rebounds; Eli Gailes had 11 points. eight steals and nine assists; Zeb Speir had six points and four steals.
CLOUDLAND 60, WHS 30
1 2 3 4 TOTAL
CLOUDLAND 21 13 14 12 - 60
WATAUGA 9 12 2 7 - 30
CLOUDLAND: MILLER 12, RHODES 19, CHAMBERS 1, WILSON 14, CLARK 6, JOHNSON 3, PROFFITT 3, SPARKS 2.
WHS: WOODS 3, WOOD 9, DUNNIGAN 4, EPPLEY 2, MARGOLIS 2, DERRICK 2, NcNEILL 6, WELSH 2.
CLOUDLAND 60, WATAUGA 30
NEWTON-CONOVER 57, HICKORY 52
BANDYS 80, ST. STEPHENS 26
CLOUDLAND 56, WATAUGA 50
ST. STEPHENS 51, BANDYS 39
HICKORY 91, NEWTON-CONOVER 54