The Watauga Storm eighth grade girls basketball team finished second this past weekend at the 2014 Patriots Shootout Classic in Morganton, N.C.
The Storm defeated the Liberty Knights 41-34 in the opening round. Vanessa Saufley came off the bench and provided a spark as she knocked down three trifectas helping the Storm to a 17-9 halftime lead.
The Knights rallied and took the lead with less than five minutes left to play, but the Storm made nine of ten from the free throw line to win the game. Saufley, Makenzie Thompson, Maddisen Robinson, and Madie Darner all knocked down key free throws during that stetch.
Saufley who finished with 15 points. Darner added ten points, Thompson chipped in seven points and Kaylee Cottom came off the bench to chip in 6 points as well.
The Storm had an easy time of it in the second round as they routed the Burke Jammers, 41-12. Despite a slow start, the Storm went on a 22-2 run over the next eight minutes to take a commanding 35-10 lead with a little over eleven minutes to go in the game.
Darner led the Storm with 18 points with 14 of those points coming in the first half. Saufley had six points and Maddisen Robinson added five points. The victory against the Burke Jammers propelled the Storm to the tournament championship game against the Appalachian Avalanche.
But the Storm struggled to find its shooting touch, fell behind early, and never recovered in a 39-16 loss. The Storm was led in scoring by Darner who finished with 10 points.
It was the Storms first runner-up finish of the season. The Storm also received critical contributions from Sophie Reese with her defense and rebounding, Gracie Proffit who had three points in the tournament, Makenzie Robinson who provided solid perimeter defense, and Taylor Walker who also had three points in the tournament.
The Storm travels to Sparta, N.C., Saturday, May 17.
Photo Courtesy: Kneeling Maddisen Robinson, Makenzie Thompson, Makenzie Thompson. Standing Madie Darner, Gracie Proffit, Sophie Reese, Kaylee Cottom, Vanessa Saufley. Player not pictured Taylor Walker, PH