The Hibriten High girls basketball team must hate coming to Boone. Afterall, the results have been anything but favorable. The Panthers (8-14 overall; 4-7 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) haven't won in Boone since the 1997-98 season. And
the woes continued Tuesday night.
The Pioneers (9-12; 4-7) celebrated Senior Night in a big way by pounding Hibriten 58-23 at Lentz-Eggers Gym. The Pioneers settled the issue rather quickly. They put together an 18-0 in the first half and led 29-6 with 2:26 to play in the second quarter. A steal and a transition bucket by WHS junior Savanna Wood capped off the rally.
Making matters worse, the Panthers were missing their two top players---Elexia Logan and Keisha Corpening were nursing ankle injuries and did not play.
"Our girls saw (Corpening) limping around before the game, and they were wondering if she would even play," said WHS coach Klay Anderson. "But I told them it doesn't matter whether she plays or not. That's a varsity basketball team, and they're going to make the necessary adjustments. But we came out with a lot of energy tonight, took the lead, and broke the game open early."
Senior Tasha Wilson, who has been sidelined for the most of the season with a leg injury she suffered at Avery (December 7), gave WHS the boost it needed. Wilson erupted for six first-quarter points and that set the tone for the rest of the game.
"Boom, boon, boom, (Tasha) was all over the place," Anderson said. "It's really a shame she got hurt early in the year. She has so much energy. Tonight, she scored the first six points of the game, and that put us in control. Senior Nights are loaded with memories. This one should stay with Tasha for quite a while."
WHS led 29-9 at halftime, and eventually extended its lead to 36 points at 52-16 with 3:01 left in the game on a bucket by Kaelin McNeill. The win also moves WHS into a fourth-place tie with the Panthers with one game left on the schedule at St. Stephens Friday night.
"And if we can win out, we can host a home game next Monday (in the opening-round of the conference tournanment)," Anderson said. "And we might even host a state playoff game (on February 25) in the first round. Last year, we knew we didn't have a shot to finish fourth. But this team has grown up. It's a veteran group. They know what to expect at this time of the year. And this is what we've been playing so hard for. We have a lot of things in our favor right now. We must stay focused on what's in front of us."
And the Pioneers will host Hibriten in the opening round of the NW3A/4A Conference tournament next Monday night at Lentz-Eggers Gym. Hannah Margolis, one of the graduating seniors and the face of the program, paced the Pioneers with a triple-double. she had 17 points, 15 rebounds and ten assists. She also had six steals and three blocked shots. Wood finished with 15 points, including three trifectas. Only four players scored for the Panthers. Courtney Morton paced Hibriten with eight points.
The Pioneers travel to St. Stephens Friday night. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Oldies 100.7 FM.
NOTES: The Panthers have only beaten WHS four times since the 1997-98 season. Three of those wins have come in Lenior. The last win in Boone came in January of 1998 in overtime at the old Lentz-Eggers Gym....The Panthers are mired in a three-game losing streak......The WHS JV girls won their final home game of the year by knocking off Hibriten, 45-15. Madi Brown and Rachel Foutz each had seven points apience to pace the Pioneers.
WATAUGA 58, HIBRITEN 23
Score By Periods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Hibriten 6 3 5 9 - 23
Watauga 16 13 15 14 - 58
HIBRITEN: C.MORTON 8, McCRARY 7, BROWN 4, SOLDATI 4. FG: 5, 3FG: 3, FT: 4-9.
THREE-POINTERS: BROWN, SOLDATI, C.MORTON.
WHS: WOOD 15, DERRICK 2, MARGOLIS 17 (15 REBOUNDS, 10 ASSISTS, 6 STEALS, 3 BLOCKED SHOTS), McNEILL 6, HARRIS 4, MAKAROVA 2, WILSON 6, WELSH 6. FG: 22, 3FG: 4, FT: 2-8.
THREE-POINTERS: WOOD 3, MARGOLIS.
NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A CONFERENCE
WATAUGA 58, HIBRITEN 23
HICKORY 72, ST. STEPHENS 42
ALEXANDER CENTRAL 66, SOUTH CALDWELL 61
FRED T. FOARD - BYE
WATAUGA 51, HIBRITEN 49
HICKORY 70, ST. STEPHENS 58
SOUTH CALDWELL 59, ALEXANDER CENTRAL 56 (OT)
FRED T. FOARD - BYE
WILKES CENTRAL @ SOUTH CALDWELL
WATAUGA @ ST. STEPHENS
HICKORY @ FRED T. FOARD
ALEXANDER CENTRAL @ HIBRITEN
SOUTH CALDWELL - BYE