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Pioneers Continue To Struggle PDF Print
Written by Mike Kelly   
Saturday, 04 February 2012 13:27

Watauga High men's basketball coach Rob Sanders is caught in a recurring dream. No matter what he tries to do, he keeps finding himself agonizing over the disappointment of his team's inconsistent play. The Pioneers, fighting for their post-season lives, have picked a bad time to start playing their worst basketball of the year.  The Pioneers (8-12 overall; 4-6 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference), mired

in a three-game losing streak, have also lost four of their last five games. Their most recent setback came Friday night in Sawmills, N.C. The Pioneers, like they did Tuesday night against Alexander Central (a 71-56 loss), got off to an early 2-0 lead on a basket by Tyler Sturgill, fell behind, and never recovered. The end result, South Caldwell defeated WHS, 72-55.
The win leaves the Spartans (9-12; 4-7), who have won three of their last four games, just one-half game behind WHS for fourth place in the NW3A/4A Conference standings. The Spartans also picked up their first win against the Pioneers in five years (the last time they did it was in 2005-06). And WHS remains one game behind St. Stephens (5-5 NW3A/4A) for third place. Fred T. Foard beat the Indians 45-43 Friday night in Newton, N.C.
The Pioneers are also staring at their first losing season since 2007-08, and the possibility of missing the state playoffs for the first time in seven years (2005-06).
"They really kicked our butts the last time we played them up there (a 65-32 loss in Boone on January 10)," said South Caldwell coach Lee Swanson. "We had absolutely no intensity in that game. But our guards really attacked them tonight. We took the ball inside, we moved it around the perimeter, and we had some great open looks."
The Spartans shot the lights out as they buried nine three pointers, six of those in the first half. Thomas Redding, who came off the bench, set the tone with three trifectas in the second quarter. That effort gave the spartans a 13-point advantage in the first half at 31-18.
The Pioneers battled back and narrowed the gap to eight points at the break, thanks to a three pointer at the horn by Sub Steury. And WHS actually got within seven points in the third quarter at 38-31. But their comeback attempt was put to rest as the Spartans increased their lead to 12 points, and the Pioneers faded.
"I just told our guys to go out and to play hard for 32 minutes," Swanson said. "We watched film of our last game against Watauga, and like I told them, I can't coach you if you don't play with any intensity. Tonight, our intensity level was very good. We attacked and never let up."
Jordyn Probst really hurt the Pioneers inside. He finished with a game-high 18 points. He set the tone with eight of those points in the opening stanza as the Spartans built a nine-point lead. The Spartans had three players in double figures. Redding and Josh Evans each had 11 points; Conner Drum finished with nine.
"It was a good balanced attack," Swanson said. "And that's what we want. I felt coming in that we had the guards to make us competitive this season. It was my fault early in the year they weren't attacking as aggressively as they are now. I finally told them to play smart, but to be aggressive on offense. They did a good job of that tonight against Watauga. We mixed things up pretty well."
The lead eventually grew to 22 points at 70-48 with 2:28 left in the game. Jake Pifer and Matt Proffitt paced WHS with ten point apiece. Allan Koppenhaver and DeWayne Mackey each finished with seven points. The Pioneers, 0-2 on this three-game road trip, close out the trip in Lenior against Hibriten Tuesday night.

 


SOUTH CALDWELL 72, WATAUGA 55


SCORE BY PERIODS   1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
WATAUGA............ 10   16   12   17   55
SOUTH CALDWELL..... 17   17   23   17   72

 


WHS: PIFER 10, STEURY 3, POULOS 2, PROFFITT 10, MARGOLIS 3, HOWSER 6, CHASTEEN 5, KOPPENHAVER 7, STURGILL 2, MACKEY 7.

 


SOUTH CALDWELL: WINGATE 6, HODGE 7, REDDING 11, EVANS 11, HALLYBURTON 2, PROBST 18, DRUM 9, MASK 8.

 


SPARTANS, SAMS WHIP WHS, 48-29


The Watauga High women's basketball team dropped it fourth consecutive game Friday night. The Pioneers (5-15 overall; 3-7 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference), who were bested by South Caldwell 48-29 down in Sawmills, N.C., also find themselves mired in fifth place, trailing Fred T. Foard by two-and-a-half games for the No.4 seed in the NW3A/4A Conference standings with two league games left on the schedule.
The Tigers (6-5 in league play) clinched a tie for the No.4 seed and a home game in the opening-round of the conference tournament (which begins February 13 for the women) by knocking off St. Stephens 74-34 in Newton, N.C., Friday night. And the Spartans (12-9; 7-4) maintained their one-game lead on Foard for the No.3 seed by beating WHS. Shana Sams paced the Spartans with 14 points. And Sams, a four-year varsity player and three-year starter, took charge after her team fell behind early in the second quarter.
"(South Caldwell coach) Jeff (Parham) did what a good coach will do," said WHS coach Klay Anderson. "He challenged Shana. She's a four-year varsity player, and it was up to her to pick up her teammates. And she did just that after Jeff called that time out. We stopped scoring and they just pulled away."
The Pioneers, who struggled early, came charging back and took a 12-10 lead on a bucket by freshman Haleigh Wallace with 4:12 left in the first half. But from that point on, it was all South Caldwell. The Spartans scored 17 consecutive points, 13-straight to close out the first half, and built a commanding 27-12 lead in the third quarter. WHS didn't help itself as the Pioneers only scored four points in the third quarter.
"(Shana) made a big basket for us coming out of the time out," Parham said. "And our offense starting playing better because Shana starting making better decisions. And she's capable of doing that, especially being a senior guard that's been with the program for four years at the varsity level."
The lead eventually grew to 21 points as the Spartans continued their mastery of WHS at home. The Pioneers haven't beaten the Spartans in Sawmills since the 1996-97 season.
"It was a big win for us," Parham said. "It puts us at 7-4, and it gives us the second-place seed among the (Class) 4A schools in the conference. It was a big game and the girls knew that. I thought we did a good job clamping down on defense. (Watauga) came out and played real hard, and they did some things early on that really hurt us. But that's coach Anderson. He's a great coach, and he does a great job. But we changed up things up on defense, Shana made a big shot coming out of the time out, we went on that little run, and that was the difference in the game."
Hannah Margolis led WHS with 11 points; Savanna Wood finished with seven points, all of them in the second half. Whitney Dunnigan missed her second consecutive game with a slight concussion; Kaelin McNeill was sick and did not play. Amber Gross had 11 points for the Spartans; Leah Sherrill and Anna Lee Bollinger finished with seven points apiece.
The WHS men and women close out the road trip Tuesday night in Lenior against Hibriten. Our coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Oldies 100.7 FM.
NOTES: The JV boys (20-0; 10-0 NW3A/4A Conference) remained undefeated as they knocked off South Caldwell 60-40 Friday night. Cameron Baker finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four steals; Jake Chasteen had 12 points, Trevor Eggers had nine points; Matt Lambert had seven rebounds; Jay Harrill had five boards; T. J. Poulos had three assists and four steals.....The JV girls won, 43-17. Grace Plyler and Rachel Foutz each had ten points; Clare Harris had nine.

 


SOUTH CALDWELL 48, WATAUGA 29


SCORE BY PERIODS  1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
WATAUGA........... 8    4    4    13    29
SOUTH CALDWELL.... 8   15   13    12    48

 


WHS: WOOD 7, WALLACE 5, EPPLEY 4, SEAMONE 2, MARGOLIS 11.

 


SOUTH CALDWELL: CANNON 1, SHERRILL 7, YOUNCE 2, GROSS 11, BOLLINGER 7, WOOD 6, SAMS 14.

 


FRIDAY NIGHT'S GAMES

 

 

WOMEN:

SOUTH CALDWELL 48, WATAUGA 29
HICKORY 91, HIBRITEN 51
FRED T. FOARD 74, ST. STEPHENS 34
ALEXANDER CENTRAL - BYE

 

MEN:


SOUTH CALDWELL 72, WATAUGA 55
HICKORY 90, HIBRITEN 45
FRED T. FOARD 45, ST. STEPHENS 43
ALEXANDER CENTRAL - BYE

 


TUESDAY'S GAMES


(MEN & WOMEN)


WATUAGA @ HIBRITEN
ALEXANDER CENTRAL @ SOUTH CALDWELL
HICKORY @ ST. STEPHENS
FRED T. FOARD - BYE

 


NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A CONFERENCE STANDINGS


WOMEN:

 


HICKORY (3A) 10-0;  21-1
ALEXANDER CENTRAL (4A) 8-2; 16-5
SOUTH CALDWELL (4A) 7-4; 12-9
FRED T. FOARD (3A) 6-5; 13-9
WATAUGA (4A) 3-7; 5-15
HIBRITEN (3A) 2-8; 5-14
ST. STEPHENS (3A) 0-10; 2-19

 


MEN:

 


ALEXANDER CENTRAL (4A) 9-1; 16-5
HICKORY (3A) 9-1; 19-3
ST. STEPHENS (3A) 5-5; 13-9
WATAUGA (4A) 4-6; 8-12
SOUTH CALDWELL (4A) 4-7; 9-12
FRED T. FOARD (3A) 3-8; 13-9
HIBRITEN (3A) 2-8; 9-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
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