Foard holds off Watauga boys' basketball team
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga's boys' basketball team found that out the hard way in a 54-46 loss at Fred T. Foard Friday night. The Pioneers (9-3, 0-2 Northwestern Conference) tried to stay close to the Tigers, but could never quite pull even with them once Foard took a substantial lead.
"We played well on the defensive end and played with a lot of effort," Foard coach Rob Bliss said. "When you're playing against a really good Watauga team, you have to do that."
Foard (6-5, 1-1 NWC) needed just two shots from the field to close out the first half with a 7-0 run. The Tigers got a 3-point basket from Jake Mahnke with 43 seconds left in the first half to give Foard a 23-19 lead.
That was followed by a rare four-point play by Trey Bills 15 seconds later. Bliss drained a 3-point basket and ensuing free throw after being fouled on the play.
After trailing 20-19, Watauga suddenly found itself behind 27-19 at halftime.
"You've got to give them credit," Watauga coach Rob Sanders said. "They came out in the first half as the more aggressive team. They were more aggressive offensively and we didn't hit a lot of shots early on. As bad as we played, and really we were playing on our heels, the game went back and forth with a two-point lead here and a three-point lead there. Then, all of a sudden, they had that seven-point possession really and that was a huge momentum swing."
But Foard could not put the Pioneers away for good in the second half. The Tigers took a 37-23 lead in the third quarter after going on a brief 6-0 mini-run, but Watauga closed out the quarter with a 4-0 run and trailed 37-27 going into the fourth.
"We had a run, but every time we seemed to put something together, they hit a big shot," Sanders said. "That's what you have to do. We were trying to trap and create some things off our defense, they did a good job of spreading us out."
Foard increased its lead to 48-31 with help of back-to-back 3-point baskets by Devin Reinhardt, but the Pioneers clawed their way to within 48-39 with an 8-0 run.
That would be as close as the Pioneers would get until a Jay Harrill 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds left brought Watauga to 54-46.
"It's kind of been odd this year because it's been a different kid every night who has come off our bench -- and, to be honest, we've been looking for some consistency, but tonight was Devin's night," Rob Bliss said. "He made two huge shots for us."
Harrill finished with a double-double by scoring 15 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. Cam Baker added 10 points, including two slam dunks that were both in traffic. His dunk with 4:14 left in the third quarter ended in a three-point play and pulled the Pioneers to within 28-22.
Ketty Cameron led a balanced Foard scoring attack with 13 points. Tyler Bliss added 10 points, Nolan Whitener scored eight and Reinhardt scored seven.
Watauga plays at Freedom on Tuesday.
Fred T. Foard 54, Watauga 46
Watauga 46 (9-3, 0-2)
Harrill 6 0-0 15, Eggers 1 0-0 3, Gailes 1 0-1 2, Poulos 2 3-5 7, Jones 2 5-6 9, Baker 4 2-3 10, Lambert 0 0-0 0, Dobbins 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-15 46.
Fred T. Foard 54 (6-5, 1-1)
Johnson 2 1-2 6, Bliss 2 4-5 10, Cameron 5 3-6 13, Teague 0 1-2 1, Reinhardt 2 1-2 7, Mahnke 1 1-2 4, Wigington 2 1-4 5, Whitener 3 1-2 8, Roper 0 0-0 0, Helper 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 13-25 54.
Watauga 9 10 8 19 -- 46
Fred T. Foard 14 13 10 17 -- 54
3-point goals--Watauga 4 (Harrill 3, Eggers), Foard 7 (Bliss 2, Reinhardt 2, Mahnke, Whitener, Johnson). Rebounds--Watauga 38 (Harrill 16), Foard 39 (Whitener 9). Turnovers--Watauga 19, Foard 21. Total fouls--Watauga 20, Foard 14. Technical fouls--None.