|And That's 19 Straight....|
|Written by Mike Kelly|
|Wednesday, 04 December 2013 09:23|
It's been quite a while since the Avery High boy's basketball team has beaten Watauga. The Vikings have dropped 19 consecutive games against the Pioneers dating back to the 2004-05 season. And that trend continued on Tuesday night.
Despite a slow start, the Pioneers (2-0), thanks to a 19-4 blitz in the second quarter, defeated Avery 63-51 at Lentz-Eggers Gym. WHS, which led 30-20 at halftime, extended its lead to 16 points early in the third quarter and survived a late comeback try by the Vikings.
"The turning point came in the third quarter," said Avery coach Scott Polsgrove, who saw his team's seven-point, first-quarter lead melt away. "We fell too far behind. The guys battled back and cut it down to (five points), but we just couldn't get it any closer."
Trailing 41-25, the Vikings (3-2) went on a 16-5 run and cut the lead to five points on two occasions. The last time at 51-46 with 2:48 left to play on a three ball by Chance Watson. But WHS squelched any hopes of a comeback as Jay Harrill buried a three and Cameron Baker hit a floater in the lane for a ten-point lead with 1:46 to go.
"Avery has really improved," said WHS coach Rob Sanders, who is 19-0 against the Vikings. "We got the big lead, and our guys started playing not to lose. We just stopped attacking, and that allowed them to come back. They got stingy on defense, and we started forcing things."
The Vikings never got any closer than seven points at 58-51 with 36.1 seconds left on a three by Jeffrey Puckett. WHS iced things away at the foul line.
The Pioneers made six of seven free throws down the stretch to settle the issue. Eli Gailes, who finished with seven points, hit four of those free throws. WHS made 14-21 free throws on the night.
"Watauga has some good shooters," Polsgrove said. "They hit some big shots when we got it close. We have to do a better job of guarding them when we play them at our place next Monday night"
WHS buried nine trifectas (and 19 in their first two games) against the Vikings. Harrill, who suffered a cut above his right eye midway through the third quarter, had three of those in the second half and four on the night. He led three players in double figures with 18 points.
"He caught an elbow to the face and it shook him up a bit," Sanders said. "I kept him on to calm him down. But Jay has really stepped it up in our first two games. He has a lot of confidence in his shot. He really believes it's going in when he lets it go. Heck, I believe it's going in. Jay is such a good shooter, and he's hit some big shots in the clutch for us. That three late in the game really gave us a much needed lift."
Utah Jones, who fueled WHS' second quarter run with 12 points off the bench, finished with 14 points. Baker had 14 points with nine of those coming in the second half.
"This group has found a way to get it done in our first two games," Sanders said. "We won a huge game in a hostile building last week (in their season opener at Wilkes Central), and tonight we beat a huge rival in Avery. And this is a big week for our guys. It's rivalry week for us. We're looking at three schools in Avery, Alexander Central and Ashe County in our next six games that always play us tough. It's nice to get this one with a road game coming up (tonight) at Alexander Central."
Watson and Tyler Polsgrove, an all-state football player who suffered a serious hip injury and missed the entire season, paced the Vikings with 12 points apiece. Luke Crowe came off the bench and poured in nine points.
"I'm so happy for Tyler," said Polsgrove about his son. "He suffered a freak injury on the first day of football camp. He had two plates and eight screws put into his hip to keep it together. He was in a wheelchair for eight weeks. The doctors said it would take about six months for him to come back, but he worked so hard at his rehabilitation. As a father and a coach, I'm very proud of him."
The WHS boy's and girl's basketball teams travel to Taylorsville to take on Alexander Central tonight. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. on Classic Hits 100l.7 FM and GoBlueridge.net.
NOTES: The Vikings haven't beaten WHS since the 2003-04 season. They beat WHS three times that year, with the last win coming in the Colvard Oil Holiday Tournament at the old Lentz-Eggers Gym.....The WHS junior varsity team defeated Avery, 50-21. Levi Wilcox led a balanced attack with nine points; Zach Valet had seven. The JV boys are 3-1.
WATAUGA 63, AVERY 51
SCORE BY PERIODS 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
AVERY 16 4 14 17 - 51
WATUAGA 11 19 14 19 - 63
AHS: WALDROOP 5, WATSON 12, POLSGROVE 12, STEWART 2, PUCKETT 5, BAUER 2, CROWE 9, PHILLIPS 2, WOTELL 2. FG: 16, 3FG: 3, FT: 10-14.
WHS: HARRILL 18, EGGERS 3, GAILES 7, POULOS 1, DOBBINS 3, JONES 14, EBAUGH 3, BAKER 14. FG: 11, 3FG: 9, FT: 14-21.
VIKINGS RALLY PAST PIONEERS, 37-36
It just wasn't meant to be. The Watauga High girl's basketball team (0-2), looking for its first win of the season, let a ten-point, third-quarter lead get away in a 37-36 loss Tuesday night at Lentz-Eggers Gym.
Leading 27-17 midway through the third quarter, the Pioneers went dormant and the Vikings (3-2) came to life. Avery methodically worked its way back into the game, thanks to a 13-3 run, to tie the game at 30-30 with 2:20 left to play. A bucket by Bre Heaton capped off the comeback.
"We just stopped scoring," said WHS coach Klay Anderson. "And a lot of the credit goes to Avery. They went to a box and one on Savanna (Wood) and took her away. But we still had our chances and didn't finish. Like we did the other night (in a loss at Wilkes Central), we just missed too many good shots."
Wood led the Pioneers with 13 points. Her trifecta gave the Pioneers their 10-point advantage. But from that point on, the Vikings simply took over.
A conventional three-point play by Ryan Loflin gave WHS its final lead at 33-30 with 1:57 left. But a pair of free throws by Lauren Burelson cut the lead to one, and a three-point play by Burelson with 15.7 seconds left gave the Vikings their first lead of the game at 35-33.
"Lauren Burelson is their go-to player," Anderson said. "And she took charge with the game on the line. That was a huge three-point play that gave them the lead, but we still had our chances to pull it out. We just couldn't pull it off. It's disappointing, but like I told the girls after the game, forget about this one and let's start focusing on (tonight's) game against Alexander Central."
A free throw by Loflin made it a one-point game with 12.4 seconds left. But Katie Rigdon buried two free throws with nine seconds to go, giving the Vikings a 37-34 lead.
But the Vikings made a huge mistake that opened the door for WHS. Loflin hit a running one-hander from the right baseline and was fouled by Jesse Ramsey of the Vikings in the process with three seconds to play. But following a time out, Loflin missed a game-tying free throw, Burelson grabbed the rebound and the Vikings won their first game in Boone in three years.
"Ryan made a heck of a play," Anderson said. "She hits the big shot and got fouled. But the free throw didn't fall. Things like that happen some times. But I'm proud of my girls. We lost the lead, but we kept ourselves in contention."
Loflin finished with 11 points and three assists, Burelson led the Vikings with 12 points, Rigdon finished with nine points and Kylie Polsgrove had seven points for the Vikings.
NOTES: Avery won the junior varsity game, 33-30. Sydney Farthing led WHS with 12 points. Karson Hamrick had nine. The JV girls are 3-1.
AVERY 37, WATAUGA 36
SCORE BY PERIODS 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
AVERY 5 6 11 15 - 37
WATAUGA 11 7 10 8 - 36
AHS: POLSGROVE 7, B. BURELSON 3, RIGDON 9, HEATON 6, L. BURELSON 12. FG: 8, 3FG: 3, FT: 12-17.
WHS: WOOD 13 (4 ASSISTS), DERRICK 4 (3 ASSISTS), LOFLIN 11 (3 ASSISTS), McNEILL 4 (10 REBOUNDS), STAPLETON 2, FOUTZ 2. FG: 12, 3FG: 2, FT: 6-12.
TUESDAY NIGHT'S GAMES
NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A CONFERENCE
AVERY 37, WATAUGA 36
SOUTH CALDWELL 50, WEST CALDWELL 33
HICKORY 87, NEWTON-CONOVER 24
BUNKER HILL 57, FRED T. FOARD 19
WEST IREDELL 47, HIBRITEN 25
McDOWELL 59. FREEDOM 47
BANDYS 77, ST. STEPHENS 38
WATAUGA 63, AVERY 51
WEST CALDWELL 53, SOUTH CALDWELL 44
BUNKER HILL 49, FRED T. FOARD 45
HIBRITEN 65, WEST IREDELL 40
FREEDOM 72, McDOWELL 53
NEWTON-CONOVER 85, HICKORY 76
ST. STEPHENS 71, BANDYS 57
(BOYS AND GIRLS)
WATAUGA @ ALEXANDER CENTRAL
FRED T. FOARD @ BANDYS
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