First-round matchup

Watauga’s Caroline Farthing (15) works against South Caldwell’s Kaitlyn Propst during Watauga’s 59-54 win in Boone on Jan. 24.

HICKORY — The Watauga girls’ basketball team hosts South Caldwell in the first round of the Northwestern Conference Girls’ Basketball Tournament at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 at Lentz-Eggers Gym.

Watauga (15-7, 8-4 NWC) is the third seed of the tournament. South Caldwell (11-11, 3-9) is the sixth seed. The pairings were announced on Feb. 15.

Watauga beat South Caldwell two times in the regular season. The Pioneers took to the road to beat South Caldwell 61-44 in the first game, which was played on Dec. 19. Watauga added a 59-54 win in the second game the two teams played, which was on Jan. 24.

Watauga closed out the season by facing the top two teams in the conference. The Pioneers lost 50-48 to Hickory on Feb. 7 and fell to Freedom 80-44 on Feb. 11. Before those games, Watauga won five straight NWC games.

South Caldwell has won its last two games, having beat St. Stephens on Feb. 11 57-24 and Alexander Central 68-32 on Feb. 14.

League champion Freedom has a bye in the first round. Hickory, seeded second, hosts St. Stephens, while fourth-seeded McDowell hosts fifth-seeded Alexander Central.

All first-round games are on Feb. 18 and the semifinals are on Feb. 20 at McDowell High School. The finals are at McDowell on Feb. 21.

Watauga boys’ at Alexander Central

The Watauga boys’ basketball team will play at Alexander Central in the first round of the Northwestern Conference Boys’ Tournament at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18.

The pairings were announced on Feb. 15.

The Pioneers finished the regular season 7-15 overall, 4-8 in the NWC. Watauga finished in sixth place of the NWC and Alexander Central (14-10, 7-5 NWC) took third place behind Hickory and Freedom.

Watauga has played the Cougars, coached by Ed Wills, two times this season. Alexander Central won the first meeting, which in Taylorsville 67-49 on Jan. 3. The Cougars also won the rematch in Boone 57-43.

The Pioneers seemed to be on their way to winning the first meeting behind the shooting of Anderson Castle, who made eight 3-point baskets in the first half, helped Watauga to a 37-31 halftime lead. Castle cooled off in the second half, finished with 30 points, and Alexander Central rallied to win.

Alexander Central got 23 points from standout forward Jem Lowrance to win the second game 57-43.

In other first-round matchups, No. 4-seeded McDowell hosts No. 5-seeded South Caldwell, while No. 2-seeded Hickory hosts No. 7-seeded St. Stephens. Both games are scheduled for Feb. 18.

Freedom, the regular-season champion, has a bye in the first round.

All first-round games are on Feb. 18 and the semifinals are on Feb. 20 at McDowell High School. The finals are at McDowell on Feb. 21.

The results of all games were not available by presstime.

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