Fight for the ball

Watauga’s Brelyn Sturgill fights for the basketball against North Wilkes in a scrimmage at Lentz-Eggers Gym on Nov. 14.

BOONE — The Watauga girls’ basketball team got a chance to face an opponent in a rehearsal with a scrimmage against visiting North Wilkes at Lentz-Eggers Gym on Nov. 14.

The Pioneers play at Avery on Nov. 22. Watauga also hosts Mount Heritage on Nov. 26, which is the first of four straight home games. Watauga tuned up for those games by beating North Wilkes 54-30 in a scrimmage consisting of four quarters of eight minutes. North Wilkes outscored Watauga 5-2 in six minutes of younger players participating on the court.

The Pioneers return four starters from last year’s edition that finished 17-10 overall, 10-4 in the Northwestern Conference. The Pioneers’ starters got out to a fast start on North Wilkes, which was 14-13 overall, 10-4 in the Mountain Valley Conference.

Watauga did not keep individual points totals for the scrimmage, but Watauga jumped out to a 10-4 lead and closed out the first quarter with an 18-8 lead. The Pioneers struggled early in the second quarter, but North Wilkes also struggled offensively in the quarter and led 27-17 at halftime.

“I was pleased with the effort,” Watauga coach Laura Barry said. “It’s always good to scrimmage against somebody else. We ran well in transition, but didn’t finish great. We defended well at times, but we’d let up and give them an easy bucket.”

Everyone on the Watauga bench got into the scrimmage. The Pioneers outscored North Wilkes 14-10 in the third quarter and each team scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.

“Being able to see everybody get in and play with some different lineups was very helpful and helps us get back to work in practice.”

Watauga was particularly effective in getting out in transition, especially early in the game. Barry said she liked how Watauga’s defense allowed the Pioneers to get into their running game and lead to easy baskets.

“Any turnovers that can create offense for us, we’ll definitely want to play that way,” Barry said.

Watauga also returns a tall team consisting of forwards Brooke Byrd, Rebekah Farthing, Chelsi Hodges, Taylor Lipford and freshmen Caroline Farthing and Brooke Scheffler.

“The tall team feels new,” Barry said. “It feels a little different from last year.”

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