WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County girls' basketball team knocked off visiting Watauga 59-53 on Dec. 13. It was the first time Ashe beat Watauga since 2016.
Ashe County (6-0) came into the game looking for their third win of the week, while Watauga (4-2) were coming off of a four-game winning streak stretching back to Dec. 3.
From the outset, it was clear the game would be a tightly contested affair, with neither team able to put points on the board in the first minute. Watauga's Taylor Lipford opened the game’s account with a 3-pointer, only to be answered by Ashe’s Hallie Treva own bucket from beyond the arc.
Watauga sporadically implemented a full-court press to keep the Huskies guessing, but Ashe lead 15-13 at the end of the first quarter after a pair of Treva free-throws.
The second quarter continued the two teams’ back-and-forth. Treva and Lipford both hit 3-pointers late to keep the score close at the half. While the lead changed hands multiple times, the Huskies were on top 26-25 at the half.
In the third period, Watauga managed to build up a lead that could not be erased by a single shot. After a three from Lipford, the Pioneers were up 34-28 with three-and-a-half-minutes left in the quarter. A flurry of scoring, inside and out, from players such as Ashe’s Jordan Jones and Watauga’s Rebekah Farthing, left the Pioneers in front to 41-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Deep in the fourth quarter, Ashe’s Kenadie Hudler came in clutch for the Huskies. Recently returning after missing multiple games with an elbow injury, Hudler tied the game at 46-46 with just over four minutes left. Almost three minutes later, she hit a three to tie the game again at 51.
With one minute on the clock, Ashe sophomore forward Jayden Jones made two free throws to give Ashe a 53-51 lead. An and-one from Bella Powers and more free throw heroics from Jayden Jones and Treva sealed the game, as the Pioneers were unable to mount a comeback effort.
Pioneers head coach Laura Barry said after the game that the Huskies made good shots and carried the momentum.
“I feel like it was a game of runs and they got the late run,” Barry said. “Credit to them, they made the shots they needed to and fed off the energy from those makes.”
Barry added that when they go back through the film, the Pioneers have to look at mistakes and learn from them. She said the game against the Huskies was a good test they can learn a lot from, and now it is about moving forward and getting better.
The Pioneers’ next game will be at Mountain Heritage (3-4) Dec. 17.