Watauga girls crush West Caldwell

Watauga’s Maddisen Robinson drives to the basket against West Caldwell’s Kayla Mathes.

BOONE — Watauga’s girls’ basketball team cruised to a 64-14 win over visiting and overmatched West Caldwell at Lentz-Eggers Gym on Jan. 24.

Watauga, leading 4-3, scored the next 16 points to take a 20-3 lead before West Caldwell scored the final two points of the first quarter. The Pioneers outscored the Warriors 26-3 in the second quarter to lead 46-9 at halftime, and triggered the 40-point mercy rule early in the third quarter when Brooke Byrd converted a Madie Darner steal into a basket that gave the Pioneers a 50-9 lead.

Watauga (13-2, 7-0 NWC) won its 13th straight game after losing its first two. Despite the lopsided score, Watauga coach Laura Barry cautioned the Pioneers to not take West Caldwell for granted.

“We tried to make sure that we didn’t take this game lightly,” Barry said. “We came out and played extremely hard and it does them a disservice to come out and play any other way. We respect West Caldwell enough to play hard against them. They are a program that is going to grow and is going to be competitive in a couple of years and you don’t want to leave anything in their minds that we were soft on them.”

Watauga’s offense, which looked sluggish at times in its victory over Alexander Central on Jan. 22, scored on six of its first seven possessions in building an 11-3 lead. The Pioneers’ defense forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter, including five steals.

Watauga also forced 33 overall turnovers, just once short than the 32 the Pioneers forced against Alexander Central.

Madie Darner, who made just 2-of-16 shots against Alexander Central, regrouped to score 15 points against West Caldwell. Darner was particularly effective with mid-range jump shots, and also got her share of layups, as did more of the Pioneers.

Maddisen Robinson made all three of the Pioneers’ 3-point baskets, and finished with 15 points. Rebekah Farthing added 13 points and Byrd finished with 11.

“Maddisen did a really good job stepping up tonight and Brooke was really good,” Barry said. “We challenged them to not settle for the shot outside and really get into the paint and I thought Madie, Madison and Brooke did a really good job of doing that.”

Molly Ward missed the game because of injury. Barry bought up Chelsi Hodges and Taylor Lipford from the junior varsity since there was no girls’ JV game. Hodges finished with five points.

She said the adjustment for the junior varsity players went smoothly since the junior varsity team often practices with the varsity.

“That’s how we practice every day,” Barry said. “It’s not like the ‘A’ team against the ‘B’ team at practice. They’re used to playing in all different lineups, so we have chemistry on and off the court.”

Watauga girls 64, West Caldwell 14

West Caldwell 14 (5-13, 0-8)

Zion 0 1-4 1, Bean 2 2-2 7, Battle 1 3-4 6, Johnson 0 0-1 0, Mathes 0 0-0 0, Ruff 0 0-0 0, Triplett 0 0-0 0, Barcenas 0 0-0 0, Ariel McMasters 0 0-0 0, Crisp 0 0-0 0, Alyssa McMasters 0 0-0 0. Totals 3 7-11 14.

Watauga (13-2, 7-0)

Byrd 5 1-2 11, Haas 0 3-4 3, Lopez 0 0-2 0, Farthing 4 5-5 13, Robinson 6 0-0 15, Parris Bolick 2 0-0 4, Darner 7 1-2 15, Hodges 2 1-2 5, Ward 0 0-0 0, Paige Bolick 0 0-0 0, Warren 0 0-0 0, Lipford 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 11-17 64.

West Caldwell 5 4 3 2 — 14

Watauga 20 26 11 9 — 64

3-point goals—West Caldwell 1 (Bean), Watauga 3 (Robinson 3). Rebounds—West Caldwell 18 (Battle, Ariel McMasters 3), Watauga 33 (Parris Bolick 8). Turnovers—West Caldwell 33, Watauga 9. Total fouls—West Caldwell 13, Watauga 11. Technical fouls—Watauga (illegal substitution).

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