Middle school basketball

Blowing Rock point guard Grant Troyer directs the Rockets’ offense.

BOONE — The Blowing Rock School basketball teams piled up plenty of wins during the course of the 2019-20 season.

Blowing Rock’s boys’ basketball team ran the table during the regular season by finishing with a 14-0 record. The Rockets earned the No. 1 seed going into the boys’ basketball tournament, which begins Jan. 23 at Blowing Rock’s gym.

The Rockets face eighth-seeded Mabel, which struggled to a 0-14 record during the season. The game is one of four first-round games, which all begin at 5 p.m. at the home site of the higher-seeded teams.

No. 2 seeded-Parkway (12-2) hosts Bethel (2-12) in the first round, while No. 3-seeded Hardin Park (9-5) hosts No. 6 Green Valley (6-8). No. 4-seeded Valle Crucis (7-7) hosts No. 5-seeded Cove Creek (6-8). All games are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

Blowing Rock’s girls’ team finished in second place with a 12-2 record. Blowing Rock hosts seventh-seeded Bethel (2-12) in the first round of the tournament. All of the first-round games of the girls’ tournament begin at 4 p.m. on Jan. 23.

Blowing Rock finished second to Cove Creek, which won the regular-season championship with a 13-1 record. The Raiders host eighth-seeded Green Valley (0-14).

Third-seeded Hardin Park (11-3) hosts sixth-seeded Valle Crucis (5-9) and fourth-seeded Parkway (8-6) hosts fifth-seeded Mabel (5-9).

Watauga boys’ basketbal l

BOONE — With 2:47 left in the game on Friday, Jan. 17, and up 65-59, Watauga boys’ basketball could almost taste a major Northwest Conference victory over the visiting Freedom Patriots.

In the next 75 seconds of game time, Freedom (15-1, 4-1 Northwestern Conference) used back court steals and its fast-paced offense to go on a 9-0 run, spurring a 71-67 win over the host Pioneers (6-8, 3-3 Northwestern Conference) at a lively and packed Lentz-Eggers Gymnasium.

For a Watauga team without Anderson Castle, Holden Perry led the Pioneers with 18 points, all in the second half. Jake Sears made a comfortable living downtown with 15 total points, all on 3-pointers, as did Jackson Earnhardt whose 12 points were all on threes as well. Andrew Freeman chipped in eight points, all in the first half.

Watauga girls’ basketball

BOONE — With just over two minutes left in the fourth, Watauga girls basketball was only down four points, 53-49, to 15-0 Freedom, who was ranked No. 1 in the state’s 3A classification going into the game.

However, the Pioneers (10-6, 4-3 Northwestern Conference) went cold down the stretch as the Patriots (16-0, 6-0 Northwestern Conference) took home a 62-49 victory on Friday, Jan. 17, at Lentz-Eggers Gym.

The game started hot for Watauga, as Brooke Byrd and Rebekah Farthing helped the Pioneers jump out 12-3 in the first five minutes before Freedom took a timeout.

After catching their breath, the Patriots went on a run late in the first, cutting the deficit to 15-13 by the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter saw both teams continue to score, but with Chelsi Hodges down low, the Pioneers took a surprise 30-29 lead into halftime.

App State footballBOONE — App State head football coach Shawn Clark has added another key piece to his first coaching staff, hiring Cortney Braswell as an assistant coach on the defensive side of the ball.

The hiring of Braswell comes on the heels of hiring assistant Mark DeBastiani Jan. 17. DeBastiani will be an assistant coach with the defense.

Braswell, a former high school head coach in Georgia and Tennessee, comes to Boone after serving as a defensive quality control coach at Louisville for the 2019 season.

DeBastiani coached the defensive tackles at App State from 1995-96, when Clark was an All-American offensive lineman. In 1995, App State went undefeated in the regular season, won the Southern Conference championship and advanced to the FCS quarterfinals.

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