Durham to the basket

Blowing Rock’s Katie Durham (15) goes to the basket guarded by Cove Creek’s Laney Shook. Trailing the play are Blowing Rock’s Nora Russon (33), E.T. Tilley (4) and Cove Creek’s Kara Brooks (30).

The Blowing Rock girls’ basketball team claimed a 33-28 victory over Cove Creek in the finals of the Watauga County Middle School Girls’ Championship Tournament at Watauga High School Lentz-Eggers Gym.

Blowing Rock (15-2) outscored Cove Creek 17-8 in the fourth quarter. The Rockets’ Kate Sears converted 7-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter as Cove Creek (15-2) was forced to foul her to stop the clock.

E.T. Tilley sank two free throws and Katie Durham also made two free throws in the fourth quarter. One of Durham’s free throws was the completion of a three-point play that gave the Rockets a 23-18 lead with 2:21 left in the game.

Sears led the Rockets in scoring with 15 points, while Durham scored 14. Mattie Durham and Tilley each scored two points.

“Those girls worked really hard all season and it came to fruition in the championship,” Blowing Rock coach Martha Trimble said. “It was nice to see how hard they’ve worked and see the outcome that comes with that.”

Cove Creek kept the game close thanks to a pair of foul shots from Madi Combs, a basket from Bailey Main and a 3-point basket from Laney Shook. Main added another basket inside the final 30 seconds of the game that left the Raiders trailing 32-28, but Durham scored the final point of the game from the foul line.

Main led Cove Creek in scoring with eight points. Shook finished with eight points and Robbins scored five. Lilli Combs scored four points and Madi Combs added three points.

“It was a boxing match and we expected that coming out,” Cove Creek coach Audra Vannoy said. “We missed all of our foul shots and they call them free for a reason. They’re supposed to be free points and we didn’t convert, so that was a key point in the game.”

The fourth quarter had its share of controversy. Cove Creek was called for a technical foul when one of the Raiders touched the ball after she made a Cove Creek basket. Since the Raiders were warned about doing that earlier in the game, a technical was given, according to Cove Creek coach Audra Vannoy.

The Raiders received a second technical foul after one of the players questioned why a foul was called on her, according to Vannoy.

Although the ending provided more scoring, the game got off to a slow start. Blowing Rock got a pair of foul shots from Sears and a basket from Katie Durham, while Cove Creek settled for a Shook foul shot.

Cove Creek outscored Blowing Rock 7-4 in the second quarter as Main and Lilli Combs each scored baskets. Shook added two foul shots and Madi Combs made another free throw. Blowing Rock countered with baskets from Katie Durham and Sears too forge an 8-8 tie.

Blowing Rock 33, Cove Creek 28

Blowing Rock 33 (14-3)

Tilley 0 2-6 2, M. Durham 1 0-0 2, K. Durham 5 4-6 14, Sears 3 9-12 15, Winger 0 0-0 0, Stewart 0 0-0 0, Duvall 0 0-0 0, Barker 0 0-0 0, Whitehead 0 0-0 0, Russom 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 16-25 33.

Cove Creek 28 (15-2)

Robbins 2 0-0 5, M. Combs 0 3-4 3, L. Combs 2 0-0 4, Shook 1 5-8 8, Main 4 0-2 8, Harrison 0 0-0 0, Oliver 0 0-0 0, Trivette 0 0-0 0, Brooks 0 0-0 0, Laws 0 0-0 0, Frierson 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 8-14 28.

Blowing Rock 4 4 8 17 — 33

Cove Creek 1 7 7 13 — 28

3-point goals—Blowing Rock 1 (Durham), Cove Creek 2 (Robbins, Shook). Total fouls— Cove Creek 16. Fouled out—Cove Creek (Robbins, Shook). Technical fouls—Cove Creek 2.

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