Watauga beats South Caldwell

Watauga’s Taylor Lipford (23) leads a Pioineers fast break that includes teammates Chelsi Hodges (40) and Rebekah Farthing (5) and South Caldwell’s Taylor Austin (10) and Catherine Huggins (12).

SAWMILLS — For a while, it looked like the Watauga girls’ basketball team might pitch a shutout at South Caldwell.

After a dreadfully slow start, both teams started to pick up the pace after scoring just a combined eight points in the first quarter. Watauga’s offense warmed up first and it led to a 59-54 Pioneers victory at South Caldwell’s gym on Jan. 25.

The Pioneers (12-5 5-2 NWC) completed a season sweep of South Caldwell (9-8, 1-6). Neither team looked like it packed an offense since Watauga struggled to a 6-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. South Caldwell didn’t get on the scoreboard until Olivia Miller scored with 25.2 seconds left in the first quarter.

Watauga coach Laura Barry knew that the Pioneers were struggling offensively, but was happy with how they played against the Spartans’ offense.

“We came out strong in the first quarter,” Barry said. “We were missing a lot of shots, but played great defense.”

Brooke Byrd led Watauga’s offense by scoring eight of her game-high 22 points. Rebekah Farthing added seven points in the quarter and that helped the Pioneers outscore South Caldwell 18-11 in the quarter and take a 24-13 lead by halftime.

Watauga nearly lost the lead when the Spartans pulled to 30-28 in the third quarter, but the Pioneers got a basket from Molly Ward and six points from Byrd to take a 40-33 lead into the fourth quarter.

“I was so proud of (Byrd) and she did it right at the right moment,” Barry said. “We needed someone to take over because they had been scoring and we weren’t getting our stops that we were getting in the first half.”

The Pioneers opened the fourth quarter with an 11-5 run to claim a 51-38 lead. South Caldwell rallied from the foul line by making 10-of-11 free throws, but Taylor Lipford scored four points on a 3-pointer and a foul shot, and Farthing made all six of her free throws in the quarter to help the Pioneers maintain their lead.

“The punch they threw was a big one,” Barry said. “We responded enough with some free throws late and taking care of the ball. I thought the seniors played like seniors and I was proud of them, but overall, (South Caldwell) gave us their best shot and we handled it on the road.”

Miller led South Caldwell in scoring with 16 points. Catherine Huggins scored 12 points and Faith Curtis finished with nine points.

Watauga girls 59, South Caldwell 54

Watauga 59 (12-5, 5-2 NWC)

Byrd 9 1-5 22, Sturgill 1 2-5 5, R. Farthing 4 8-11 17, Scheffler 1 0-0 2, Lipford 2 1-2 7, Hodges 2 0-0 4, Reece 0 0-0 0, Keller 0 0-0 0, Williamson 0 0-0 0, Lubsen 0 0-0 0, C. Farthing 0 0-0 0, Pruess 0 0-0 0, Coffey 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 12-23 59.

South Caldwell 54 (9-8, 1-6 NWC)

Propst 2 0-0 4, Miller 8 0-0 16, T. Austin 3 0-0 7, Huggins 5 2-6 12, Curtis 2 5-6 9, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Cline 0 0-0 0, Phillips 0 0-0 0, S. Austin 0 0-0 0, Dorsey 0 0-0 0, S. Austin 0 0-0 0, Wynn 0 0-0 0, Heavener 0 0-0 0.

Watauga 6 18 16 19 — 59

South Caldwell 2 11 20 21— 54

3-point goals—Watauga 7 (Byrd 3, Lipford 2, Sturgill, R. Farthing), South Caldwell 1 (T. Austin). Total fouls—Watauga 17, South Caldwell 14. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.

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