Passing the ball

Watauga’s Brooke Byrd was named to the West All-Star team and will play in the East-West All-Star Game on July 20.

BOONE — Watauga standout girls’ basketball player Brooke Byrd was named to the West squad of the NCCA East-West All-Star game.

The game is scheduled for July 20 in Greensboro if the game is played on time. It is unknown if the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus will force the game to be moved.

Byrd, a four-year starter with the Pioneers, averaged 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in the 2019-20 season. Watauga finished 18-9 overall last season and 8-4 in the Northwestern Conference, which was good for third place in the league standings.

Byrd also averaged 8.8 points and 3.3 rebounds during her four years with Watauga.

“I am just so proud of her and the work she’s put in,” Watauga coach Laura Barry said. “You think with her numbers she’s been consistent for four years, but the amount of growth she’s had as a player has been incredible.”

Byrd is the first player Barry has coached that made this all-star game. Byrd was an All-Northwestern Conference player last season both in basketball and volleyball.

Barry said Bird’s contribution to Watauga’s basketball team on offense was important, but so were her contributions on defense. Byrd played at the top of the key in the Pioneers’ 1-3-1 zone defense, and her job was to disrupt the opponents’ offense from reaching any rhythm when the ball crosses the timeline.

She was also known to occasionally come up with a steal when the ball was passed from one side of the opponents’ offense to the other.

“With those defensive stats, there aren’t a lot of ways to measure what you bring defensively,” Barry said. “You can count the steals, but that’s not the only impact she had had. She’s long and active on defense.”

The West coach is Brad Mangum from West Caldwell.

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