Chris Moore middle school basketball

Blowing Rock forward Chris Moore towers above the Valle Crucis defenders on his way to the basket, early in the Rockets’ 41-12 dismantling of the Cougars on Dec. 7.

BLOWING ROCK — One team’s tenacious defense with a balanced offensive attack usually spells doom for an opposing team. That was certainly the case on Dec. 7, as the Blowing Rock Rockets bombed Valle Crucis, 41-12, in the first round of the Watauga Middle School Championship tournament.

Blowing Rock basketball supporters put hex on Valle Crucis

Behind every high performing boys basketball team there is usually a winsome group of supporters. Here, these Blowing Rock middle school girls are enthusiastically casting a ‘spell’ on a Valle Crucis player at the free throw line.

Blowing Rock led from start to finish, the Rockets’ selfless play demonstrated early when four of the five starters got on the board by the end of the first quarter. Head coach Todd Hartley and assistant coach Will Sears had their charges runnin’ and gunnin’ but with a whip-the-ball-around the perimeter style in an effort to find the open man. As the score suggests, the Rockets were dominant in the first quarter.

Julian Miranda middle school basketball

A determined Julian Miranda take advantage of a scoring opportunity to drive to the basket on Dec. 7. Including Miranda’s game-high 10 points, Blowing Rock led from start to finish in defeating Valle Crucis, 41-12.

When Hartley inserted his five top reserves at the quarter break, Blowing Rock held a 15-3 advantage. The second five held their own, too, carrying the Rockets to a 25-8 lead at halftime. It was more of the same after intermission, the starters adding another 10 points in the third period and the reserves chipping in 6 more points in the final.

Valle Crucis, meanwhile, had trouble finding the bottom of the net, chalking up 2 points in the third quarter and another 2 points in the fourth. Credit the Rockets’ execution of head coach Hartley’s defensive scheme, often featuring an in-your-face, full court press that resulted in multiple turnovers by the Cougars.

Wyatt Troyer middle school basketball

Blowing Rock’s athletic guard, Wyatt Troyer puts up a shot from long range on Dec. 7 against Valle Crucis in the first round of the Watauga Middle School Championship tournament. The Rockets advanced, 41-12.

Even though the Rockets were competing without one of their frontline starters in Kyle Williams, it was a masterful performance by Blowing Rock’s boys team. Leading scorers were starters Julian Miranda (10), Kilby Hartley (7), Chris Moore (4), and Colby Whiteside (4). Among the second tier, Wyatt Troyer recorded 4 points in the second period and Elijah Brown poured in 5, all in the final quarter.

Conner Stewart middle school basketball

Conner Stewart fights through traffic to the hoop on Dec. 7 in Blowing Rock’s first round game against Valle Crucis in the Watauga County Middle School Championship tournament. Blowing Rock defeated the Cougars, 41-12.

Next up for the Rockets is a semifinal matchup with the winner of the Parkway-Bethel first round game. The semifinals will be played at Watauga High School on Friday, Dec. 10. Blowing Rock has drawn the last semifinal of the evening, at 7 p.m.

Blowing Rock’s undefeated girls team advanced to the the Dec. 10 semifinals by virtue of a bye. The No. 1 seeded Rocket girls will face the No.4 seed, Parkway, in the first semifinal of the middle school basketball evening, at 4 p.m. All semifinal games are in Lentz Eggers Gym on the campus of Watauga High School.

Kilby Hartley middle school basketball

Eight grader Kilby Hartley finishes a fast break for the Rockets against the Cougars of Valle Crucis. The selfless, playmaking guard scored 7 points in the first round matchup against the Cougars, helping lead Blowing Rock to a decisive 41-12 win on Dec. 7.


  • Julian Miranda (10 points)
  • Kilby Hartley (7)
  • Elijah Brown (5)
  • Wyatt Troyer (4)
  • Chris Moore (4)
  • Colby Whiteside (4)
  • Asa Privette (4)
  • Will Garrett (2)
  • Conner Stewart (1)

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