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Originally published: 2013-02-21 02:21:09
Last modified: 2013-02-21 02:21:41

Hickory pulls away from WHS girls

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

HICKORY — Watauga’s 2-3 zone defense has worked well for the Pioneers. It worked well against powerful Hickory in the semifinals of the girls’ Northwestern Conference Tournament.

Hickory’s famous full-court press worked even better when the Red Tornadoes faced the Pioneers. Hickory’s defense silenced Watauga’s offense in the first half, and Hickory’s offense managed to pile up a 54-33 victory over the Pioneers at Dave Craft Gym at Hickory High School.

Watauga (11-13), the No. 2 seeded 4-A team from the NWC, will host a first-round playoff game next week. The opponent will be determined Saturday after all of the conference tournaments in the state are played.

“I’m not into moral victories, but I am into watching a team give everything they have physically, emotionally, having great attitudes and acting with class and that’s what we did tonight,” Pioneers coach Klay Anderson said. “We can only go forward with our effort and out attitude. I thought we played with a lot of effort and our attitude was great.”

Watauga trailed 29-11 at halftime after making just 3-of-16 shots from the field in the first half. Watauga was limited to just five points in the first quarter, three of them coming on an old-fashioned three-point play by Ryan Loflin with three seconds left in the quarter.

Hannah Margolis’ two foul shots interrupted Hickory’s 10-0 run with 2:05 left in the first. Watauga did not get another basket from the field until a Clare Harris basket, which left the Pioneers trailing 16-7. Hickory closed out the quarter with a 13-4 run that was sparked by baskets on four straight possessions that gave the Red Tornadoes a 26-7 lead.

Watauga fought back in the second half. The Pioneers pulled to within 11 points two times, the first being a 31-20 Hickory lead after Savanna Wood hit a 3-point basket.

Hickory’s Danisha Witherspoon answered with a basket, but Harris scored on a layup off a Wood assist with 50 seconds left in the quarter to pull Watauga to within 33-22.

But Hickory struck back with five Witherspoon points in the final minute of the quarter to take a 38-22 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“We got it to within 11 points and the Hickory did what Hickory does,” Anderson said. “They made a couple of shots and they dominated us on the offensive glass.”

Watauga never got closer than 13 points the rest of the game. A 10-2 fourth-quarter run put the Red Tornadoes in front 50-29 and put the game out of reach.

Margolis led Watauga’s scorers with 12 points. Wood added six points for the Pioneers.

Witherspoon led all scorers with 23 points. Farrah Young and Yazmen Hannah each scored eight.


Hickory girls 54, Watauga 33

Watauga (11-13)

Wood 2 1-2 6, Derrick 1 0-0 2, Margolis 3 6-6 12, Harris 2 0-0 4, McNeill 2 0-0 4, Makarova 1 0-0 2, Loflin 1 1-1 3, Westphal 0 0-0 0, Foutz 0 0-0 0, Wilson 0 0-0 0. Total 12 8-9 33.


Ames 0 0-2 0, Young 3 3-4 8, Witherspoon 12 1-2 23, Hannah 1 6-6 8, Wright 1 0-0 2, Gaither 1 0-0 2, Troutman 0 0-0 0, Cameroon 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Paspa 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 10-14 54.

Watauga          5 6 11 11 — 33

Hickory           12 17 9 16 — 54

3-point goals—Watauga 1 (Wood), Hickory 2 (Young 2). Total fouls—Watauga 14, Hickory 12. Technical fouls—None.