Pioneers fall to Freedom

Watauga’s Macie Keller (11) gets past Freedom’s Christena Rhond (22) during the Pioneers’ loss on Feb. 11.

MORGANTON — It was not the way the Watauga girls’ basketball team wanted to finish the regular season.

The visiting Pioneers fell behind Freedom from the first points scored in the game and lost 80-44 on Feb. 11. Freedom stayed unbeaten at 22-0 overall, 11-0 in the NWC. Two of those wins are against Watauga (15-7, 8-4).

Watauga finishes third in the NWC standings. The Pioneers lost their final two games of the season, one each against the top two teams, Freedom and second-place Hickory.

Freedom never trailed the Pioneers on Feb. 11. The Patriots took a 7-2 lead and led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Freedom opened a 22-15 lead at the start of the second quarter before going on a 14-0 lead capped by a Blaikley Crooks 3-point basket. The Patriots seized a 36-15 lead before a Rebekah Farthing foul shot interrupted the run with 46.5 seconds left in the first half.

Christena Rhone led the Patriots in scoring with 16 points.

Crooks and Josie Hise each scored 15 points, Adair Garrison scored 13 points and Danisha Hemphill scored 11 points for Freedom.

Watauga got 14 points from Farthing and six points from Brelyn Sturgill, who left the game in the second half because of a back injury suffered when she fell hard on the floor.

Freedom girls 80, Watauga 44

Watauga 44 (15-7, 8-4 NWC)

Byrd 2 0-0 4, Reece 2 0-0 4, Sturgill 2 2-2 6, Farthing 6 2-3 14, Ward 1 0-0 2, Williamson 0 1-2 1, Lubsen 0 0-1 0, Scheffler 2 0-0 4, Hodges 3 0-0 6, Puress 0 0-0 0, C. Farthing 0 0-0 0, Keller 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 5-8 44.

Freedom 80 (22-0, 11-0 NWC)

McGee 3 0-0 8, Glass 1 0-0 2, Hemphill 3 4-4 11, Hise 6 1-1 15, Rhone 5 3-7 16, Garrison 5 2-3 13, Crooks 6 2-2 15, O’Neil 0 0-0 0, Tate 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 12-17 80.

Watauga 9 9 11 15 — 44

Freedom 15 23 21 21 — 80

3-point goals—Watauga, none, Freedom 9 (Rhone 3, McGee2, Hise 2, Garrison, Crooks). Total fouls—Watauga 16, Freedom 14. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.

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