BOONE — After holding a modest lead, the Watauga boys’ basketball team found itself looking at the possibility of losing to a St. Stephens team that rallied to take a fourth-quarter lead.
Watauga turned up its defense and pulled away to claim a 67-59 victory over the visiting Indians in a Northwestern Conference game at Lentz-Eggers Gym on Jan. 10. The Pioneers (6-6, 3-1 NWC), after going into the fourth quarter with a 51-46 lead, saw St. Stephens guard Zane McPherson hit two 3-point baskets to give the Indians (4-12, 0-4) a 56-55 advantage with 5:18 left in the game.
“The inconsistencies have got to go away,” Watauga coach Laura Barry said. “We talk about yeah, it was good enough to beat Saint tonight, but is it good enough to beat a top opponent?”
Barry called time out, the Pioneers regrouped, and outscored St. Stephens 12-2 the rest of the game. Andrew Freeman gave Watauga the lead back with a layup and Jake Sears followed with the final of his 3-point baskets to give the Pioneers a 60-55 lead.
St. Stephens’ Randall Lyons answered Sears’ 3-point basket with one of his own, but Watauga countered when Anderson Castle went the distance of the court to make a layup. From there, Castle scored another basket from the field and made two foul shots, while Freeman also made two free throws to allow the Pioneers to pull away.
Castle led the Pioneers in scoring with 24 points, which is his fourth-straight game that he has scored at least 20 points since he joined the team after his football obligations were over.
Sears scored 12 points by making four 3-point baskets. Bennett Ricker made one 3-pointer to help him score 11 points and Freeman made a 3-point shot on his way to finishing with eight points.
Jackson Earnhardt also scored eight points, including three on a 3-point shot.
Watauga coach Laura Barry would have liked to have seen the Pioneers work more towards getting the ball closer to the basket on offense since any missed jump shots have the potential to starting fast breaks.
“I thought we shot way too many threes in the second quarter, which gave them transition,” Barry said. “We wanted to set up our zone and trap them a little bit, but off of misses we didn’t.”
Watauga won its second game during the week after losing three of four games. The Pioneers beat St. Stephens after beating McDowell 79-64 on Jan. 8.
Things do not get easy for the Pioneers, who plays at Hickory on Jan. 14 and host Freedom Jan. 17.
Watauga JVs 35, St. Stephens 26BOONE — The Watauga junior varsity boys’ basketball team scored 17 points in the fourth quarter after getting shut out in the third quarter in the Pioneers’ 35-26 victory over visiting St. Stephens Jan. 10.
Isaiah Shirley scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Pioneers to a victory. Point guard Josiah Romanus added four points in the quarter as did teammate Micah Turbett, who scored four points in the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter started in an 18-18 tie, but Watauga outscored the Indians 17-8 in the period to win the game. Watauga started the game by scoring 12 points in the first quarter, but scored just six in the second to take an 18-10 halftime lead. Grant Morrison scored five points, including a 3-point basket, in the first half.
Watauga boys 67, St. Stephens 59
St. Stephens 59 (4-12, 0-4)
Daaboul 2 4-5 8, Woy 2 0-0 5, Anderson 2 2-2 6, McPherson 3 0-1 8, Buff 0 1-2 1, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Harris 0 0-0 0, Rose 12 3-5 27, Lyons 1 0-0 2. 0, Hancock 0 0-0 0, Wall 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 10-15 59.
Watauga 67 (6-6, 3-1)
Freeman 3 1-2 8, Sears 4 0-0 12, Castle 9 6-6 24, Perry 0 2-2 2, Ricker 4 1-1 11, Greer 0 0-0 0, Earnhardt 3 1-2 8, Hale 0 0-0 0, Robbins 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0, Ward 0 0-0 0, Privette 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 10-13 67.
St. Stephens 14 13 19 13 — 59
Watauga 21 13 17 16 — 67
3-point goals—St. Stephens 3 (McPherson 2, Woy); Watauga 7 (Sears 4, Freeman, Ricker, Earnhardt). Total fouls—St. Stephens 14, Watauga 15. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—St. Stephens (Daaboul).