Celebration begins

The Blowing Rock boys’ basketball team celebrates its victory over Parkway in the finals of the Watauga County Middle School Boys Basketball Tournament.

Blowing Rock’s showdown with Parkway in the Watauga County Middle School Boys’ Championship Tournament featured the height of the Rockets against the shooting of the Patriots.

Blowing Rock didn’t necessarily dominate the Patriots with height, but still managed to take a 37-34 victory Jan. 30 at Watauga High School’s Lentz-Eggers Gym. Blowing Rock completed a 17-0 season one year after losing to Hardin Park in the 2019 finals.

The win over Parkway took a late-game rally. Parkway (14-3) trailed 29-27 at the end of the third quarter, but led 34-31 in the fourth quarter after Maddox Greene scored seven straight points.

Blowing Rock struck back by getting a driving basket from Wyatt Kohout and a stickback from Sam Nixon to surge back in front 35-34.

Rockets center Morgan Henry scored the game-winning shot on an offensive rebound with 38.3 left in the game.

Blowing Rock coach Todd Hartley said that after Hardin Park beat Blowing Rock 49-13 in the 2019 finals he gave Henry some drills to improve his game. One of them was a simple drill that had Henry throw the ball to the basket, but don’t make the shot.

Then Henry was to rebound the ball and make the stickback layup. Hartley said Henry’s work around the basket paid off during the season.

“We always run our offense through Wyatt if we can,” Hartley said. “We want to get him more touches so we are a more successful team. And Morgan is such a good low post player. Last year after Hardin Park blew us out I gave Morgan some things to work on.”

Blowing Rock, which did not hit a 3-point basket, got 19 points from Kohout. Henry added nine points and Nixon had eight.

Greene countered with 11 points for Parkway. Cade Keller scored 10 points, six as a result of making two 3-pointers.

“Our guards really stepped up,” Parkway coach Grady McKinney said. “Everybody stepped up in practice this week. I can’t say enough about the level of play my eighth-graders showed. They really stepped up as leaders and helped set a good example for our young kids.”

The first quarter was an indication of how the game might play out since Blowing Rock clung to an 8-7 lead. The Rockets scored the first six points of the second quarter and extended it to a 19-14 halftime advantage.

Parkway rallied to an 11-3 run to take a 27-22 lead in the third quarter, but Blowing Rock got five points from Kohout and another two from Henry to storm back and take a 29-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“I’m glad we don’t have to play Parkway for a fourth time,” Hartley said. “They give us a good game. The first game we faced them we got lucky at their place and their coaches went to work and their players went to work and they improved. They got some key kids to step up during the season that just kept improving.”

Blowing Rock boys 37, Parkway 34

Parkway 34

M. Greene 5 0-0 11, Keller 4 0-0 10, Hodges 3 0-1 7, Pryor 3 0-0 6, Sevensky 0 0-0 0, Burroughs 0 0-0 0, Gough 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Parsons 0 0-0 0, K. Greene 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 0-1 0 34.

Blowing Rock 37

Nixon 4 0-2 8, Kohout 0 1-2 19, Knight 0 1-2 1, Henry 3 3-3 9, Watson 0 0-0 0, Miranda 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Kirkland 0 0-0 0, Moore 0 0-0 0, Hoge 0 0-0 0, Troyer 0 0-0 0, Hill 0 0-0 0, Duvall 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Sukow 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-9 37.

Parkway 7 7 13 7 — 34

Blowing Rock 8 11 10 8 — 37

3-point goals—Parkway 4 (Keller 2, M. Greene, Hodges), Blowing Rock, None. Total fouls—Parkway 11, Blowing Rock 10. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.

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