Ashe girls' basketball team rallies past Watauga
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga was leading at halftime after shutting out the Huskies in the second quarter. Although the Pioneers were missing leading scorer Savanna Wood because of a sprained ankle, they looked like they were starting to find the basket.
Ashe County turned out to be the team to discover how to score the ball. The Huskies' offense came alive in the second half and overtook the Pioneers in a 33-29 victory at Lentz-Eggers Gym Friday night.
Ashe County (2-3), which did not score in two of the four quarters it played in a 42-13 loss to North Surry, failed to score in the second quarter against Watauga. The Huskies missed all 10 shots they tried, and also turned the ball over six times in the second quarter.
The Pioneers (0-4) took advantage of that dry spell by outscoring Ashe 10-0 in the second to take a 15-4 lead.
"At halftime, I was very disappointed," Ashe coach Laura Foster said. "Half the turnovers we had 11 (in the first half), only three of them were forced by Watauga. ... I was really disappointed in our confidence. We were trying to get rid of the ball like it was a hot potato."
Ashe guard Morgan Hudler, a three-year varsity player, took over the scoring for the Huskies in the third quarter. Hudler scored eight of her game-high 16 points in the third quarter.
As Hudler and her teammates started to find the basket in the third quarter, Watauga went cold The Pioneers were outscored by the Huskies 17-3 in the period after making just 1-of-4 shots and turning the ball over 11 times.
Ashe went into the fourth quarter with a 21-18 lead.
"I've got to have that out of her," Foster said. "It's her third year playing varsity. She's got to take that and she did tonight. We had to have it."
Ashe (2-3) took a largest lead of 26-18 after scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter, but Watauga started to rally. The Pioneers went on an 8-2 run to pull to 28-26 on a Ryan Loflin drive with 1:48 left.
But Hudler buried a 3-point basket with 1:07 left. After Ashe forced three more turnovers, Huskies forward Ashton Lee hit two foul shots with 24.4 seconds left to put the Huskies in front 33-26.
Watauga got a 3-pointer from Clare Harris with 14.9 seconds left. The Pioneers got the rebound on a missed Ashe one-and-one free throw opportunity one possession later, but could not convert on the other end of the court as time ran out.
Harris, who made three 3-point shots, led the Pioneers in scoring with 11 points. Loflin and Kaelin McNeil each scored four.
Ashe got five points from Page Spell and four from Lee and Savannah Brooks.
Watauga returns to the court Monday at Avery and at home Tuesday against Alexander Central in a week that the Pioneers get a chance to avenge three losses.
Ashe COunty 33, Watauga 29
Ashe County 33 (2-3)
Hudler 5 4-5 16, Spell 2 1-3 5, Lopp 1 0-0 2, Brown 1 0-1 2, Brooks 2 0-0 4, Lee 0 4-4 4, Grubb 0 0-0 0, Eller 0 0-0 0, Sullivan 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 9-13 33.
Watauga 29 (0-4)
Millsaps 0 1-2 1, Derrick 1 0-2 2, Harris 3 2-2 11, Loflin 2 0-0 4, McNeil 1 2-2 4, Jones 1 1-2 3, Foutz 1 0-0 2, Brown 1 0-0 2, Stapleton 0 0-0 0, Carroll 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 6-10 29.
Ashe 4 0 17 12 -- 33
Watauga 5 10 3 11 -- 29
3-point goals--Ashe 2 (Hudler 2), Watauga 3 (Harris 3). Rebounds--Ashe 29, Watauga 28. Turnovers--Ashe 19, Watauga 30. Total fouls--Ashe 15, Watauga 8. Fouled out--None Technical fouls--None.