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Harrill Leads Pioneers Over Cougars PDF Print
Written by Mike Kelly   
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:00

Enough is enough. Just ask Watauga High senior Jay Harrill, who took matters into his own hands Tuesday night.

 

Harrill erupted for 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as the Pioneers blasted Alexander Cenral 61-43 in a non-conference game at Lentz-Eggers Gym. Harrill pretty much settled the issue himself as he gave WHS (5-1) a nine-point lead by scoring seven consecutive points to close out the third quarter.

 

"That's typical of Jay," said WHS coach Rob Sanders. "He stepped up as a clutch shooter for us last season, and he came up big tonight. We really needed a lift. We didn't play all that well, especially in the first half. And to be fair to them, we added a couple of new sets for this game. We just had a quick walk through after school. We haven't been able to practice with all the games we've played recently."

 

"Monday's game (a loss at Avery) was unacceptable," Harrill said. "I put the blame on myself. I felt I let the team down. Avery played pretty well, and we didn't play our best game. It was pretty rough. We don't like to lose. We came out with a mission tonight. We really wanted to win tonight. Things were pretty shakey to start the game. Coach installed a couple of new sets, and it just took a while for us to adjust."

 

Leading 39-30 to start the fourth quarter, the Pioneer broke the game open with a 22-point explosion in the fourth quarter. Harrill buried two consecutive threes that gave WHS a commanding 48-32 lead.

 

"We had to make some adjustments against Alexander's zone," Sanders said. "It gave us fits last week at their place (a game WHS won in double overtime). But tonight, we got some good open looks on the perimeter, and we made those shots."

 

"Rob did a great job getting them ready," said Alexander Central coach Ed Wills. "I really felt they outplayed us the entire game. We were fortunate they missed some shots around the basket in the first half. That played to our favor. But in the second half, their shooters found their range, and they just took over."

 

The Cougars rallied and got within 50-41 on a three pointer by Davis Miller, but a conventional three-point play by Utah Jones and a three ball by Harrill, who had five trifectas on the night, settled the issue. WHS eventually built a 20-point lead at 61-41 with less than two minutes to play.

 

"We knew we had to step it up offensively against this team," Harrill said. "They like to slow things down, and to keep it a low-scoring game. They wanted a game in the high 30s, low 40s, and we wanted this game to be in the 60s. We knew that if we sped up the game a little bit, we would get more shots."

 

Jones came off the bench and poured in 13 points; Cameron Baker finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Ty Ireland, who carried the Cougars in the first half, finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. The Cougars made 19 turnovers.

 

"(Ireland) just whipped our butts in the first half," Sanders said. "He literally did what he wanted. We had no answer to stop him. But we increased our defensive intensity in the second half. We started pressuring the ball on the perimeter and it got our transition game going. This is a big win for our guys, espeically after the way we lost on Monday night. We got everyone involved in the offense tonight."

 

With the win, the Pioneers sweep the season series from Alexander Central. They've also won four in a row against the Cougars.

 

"And this game is a good preparation for us going into our (Northwestern 3A/4A) conference opener next week (against St. Stephens)," Sanders said. "We're going to see more physical play, and we've got to be stronger on defense inside. All of us are just doing the best we can right now to prepare ourselves for conference. I really like what we've done, so far."

 

"We just want to play well in conference this season," Harrill said. "We can't wait for that first conference game next week. We're pretty excited about it. We were undefeated and won the conference title as sophomores (in 2011-12). We have a lot of confidence. We want it so bad. This team has been playing together for a long time. We've played travel ball together and we know each other real well."

 

The Pioneers wrap up the week with a road game at Ashe County on Friday night. Coverage begins at 6:05 p.m. on AM 1450, WATA and GoBlueridge.net.

 

 

WATAUGA 61, ALEXANDER CENTRAL 43

SCORE BY PERIODS 1 2 3 4 TOTAL

ALEXANDER CENTRAL 16 8 6 13 - 43

WATAUGA 8 15 16 22 - 61

 

 

ACHS: WALL 3, IRELAND 22 (13 REBOUNDS), BOWMAN 2, STARNES 4, D.MILLER 12. FG: 16-36, 3FG: 5-13, FT: 6-7. 25 REBOUNDS, 13 ASSISTS, 19 TURNOVERS.

 

 

WHS: HARRILL 25, GAILES 2 (3 ASSISTS), DOBBINS 5 (5 REBOUNDS), JONES 13, BAKER 12 (6 REBOUNDS), LAMBERT 4. FG: 23-51, 3FG: 7-22, FT: 8-12. 23 REBOUNDS, 9 ASSISTS, 8 TURNOVERS.

 

 

ALEXANDER CENTRAL GIRLS HAND WHS SIXTH STRAIGHT LOSS

 

You can say one thing about Watauga High girl's basketball coach Klay Anderson, he doesn't give up easy. No matter how difficult the situation might be, he's always working hard to find the right answers.

 

And despite his team's slow start, Anderson feels there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

"The main thing is, we're improving every game," he said. "Our record may not show it, but I like the things we're doing. We got some points inside tonight that weren't there before. Brooklin (Carroll) really grew up tonight. We're a work in progresss, and I'm confident in my girls."

 

The Pioneers (0-6) have struggled, to say the least, especially on offense. The woes continued Tuesday night as Alexander Central defeated WHS 44-32 in a non-conference game at Lentz-Eggers Gym. And with their best player, Savanna Wood, on the shelf, the problems on offense have mulitplied.

 

"This game was decided in the second quarter," Anderson said. "We had a lead and they went on a huge run that put us way behind. But we really hurt ourselves in the first half. We made so many unforced turnovers. We threw the ball to everyone in the gym except to ourselves."

 

WHS turned it over 28 times. But despite the slow start, the Pioneers, who fell behind 5-0 at the start of the game, battled back to take an 8-7 lead on a pair of free throws by Ryan Loflin with 2:07 left in the opening stanza. The Pioneers maintained the lead early in the second quarter, and led 14-12 when the Cougars (6-0) finally came to life.

 

Led by Madi Suddreath, the Cougars put together a 15-point run to close out the first half and led 27-14 at the break. The lead grew to 19 points in the second half and the Pioneers never got any closer than the final score.

 

"The first quarter is the type of quarter we needed," Anderson said. "We weathered the storm early in the game and settled down and took the lead. I was very pleased with our defense, especially in the first half. We're having our issues on offense. That late run by Alexander really hurt us."

 

Loflin and Kaelin McNeill led the Pioneers with eight points apiece. McNeill led the Pioneers with 12 rebounds. Carroll finished with two points and five rebounds. Marie Ritchie led the Cougars with 13 points and 12 boards; Suddreath, who sat out the majority of the second half, finished with 11 points.

 

The Cougars have beaten WHS six consecutive times. The Pioneers travel to Ashe County Friday night.

 

NOTES: Wood missed her third consecutive game with an ankle sprain. She was at the game Tuesday night and was limping moticeably. She is listed as day-to-day by the coaching staff, and her playing status for the rest of the month is up in the air. "She could be back before Christmas, or she could be back by January," Anderson said. "The important thing is to get her healthy for conference play next month."

 

 

ALEXANDER CENTRAL 44, WATAUGA 32

SCORE BY PERIODS 1 2 3 4 TOTAL

ALEXANDER CENTRAL 7 20 11 13 - 44

WATAUGA 8 6 7 11 - 32

 

 

ACHS: RHYNE 2, WIKE 3 (4 ASSISTS), BARR 2, COOK 2, RITCHIE 13 (12 REBOUNDS, 3 ASSISTS), KING 4, TEAGUE 1, BLANKENSHIP 4, CHAPMAN 2, SUDDREATH 11. FG: 14-47, 3FG: 1-12, FT: 15-22. 27 REBOUNDS, 11 ASSISTS, 16 TURNOVERS.

 

 

WHS: MILLSAPS 2, DERRICK 4, HARRIS 3, CARROLL 3 (5 REBOUNDS), LOFLIN 8, McNEILL 8 (12 REBOUNDS), BROWN 2, JONES 1, FOUTZ 2. FG: 10-32, 3FG: 0-3, FT: 12-17. 30 REBOUNDS, 4 ASSISTS, 28 TURNOVERS.

 

 

NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A CONFERENCE

TUESDAY'S GAMES

GIRLS:

ALEXANDER CENTRAL 44, WATAUGA 32

ST. STEPHENS 45, NEWTON-CONOVER 31

McDOWELL 66, FREEDOM 53

BANDYS 94, FRED T. FOARD 17

 

 

BOYS:

WATAUGA 61, ALEXANDER CENTRAL 43

FREEDOM 67, McDOWELL 56

FRED T. FOARD 57, BANDYS 40

ST. STEPHENS 75, NEWTON-CONOVER 73

 

 

Photo Courtesy: Utah Jones, WHS Athletics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
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