NWC brackets are set
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Following the games Friday night, the first round of the Northwestern Conference Tournament schedule is set.
Watauga’s girls’ team (10-12, 5-7 NWC), seeded fourth, hosts Hibriten (8-15, 4-8) at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Lentz-Eggers Gym. Watauga split with the Panthers during the regular season. Hibriten won the first game 41-39 in Lenoir, but the Mountaineers returned the favor with a 58-23 victory last week.
Watauga’s boys’ team (12-9, 6-6), which is also seeded fourth, hosts South Caldwell (8-12, 6-6) following the girls’ game. The Pioneers swept South Caldwell during the regular season, but the second game, a 70-66 victory, was in overtime.
It took a dramatic finish in regulation for the Pioneers to beat South Caldwell the second time. The Spartans led 54-49 when Watauga’s Jay Harrill drained a 3-point shot with 3.5 seconds left to pull Watauga to 54-52.
Following a timeout where Pioneers head coach Rob Sanders instructed his team that a steal was the only way Watauga had a chance to win the game, Harrill stepped in front of the ensuing inbounds pass and got his shot to fall to tie the game 54-54.
From there, Harrill scored 10 points in the overtime for the win.
Hickory’s girls’ team earned the first-round bye in the tournament. Should Watauga win, it would take on the Red Tornadoes at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hickory.
No. 2 seeded Fred T. Foard hosts No. 7 seeded St. Stephens at 6:30 p.m. Monday. No. 3 seed Alexander Central hosts No. 6 seeded South Caldwell at 7 p.m. Monday.
Hickory beat South Caldwell in the 2012 tournament finals.
Fred T. Foard (20-4, 10-2) is the No. 1 seed in the boys’ tournament. The Tigers would play Watauga in the second round at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the first semifinal game if the Pioneers can beat South Caldwell.
Hickory (19-5, 9-3) is the No. 2 seed and hosts Alexander Central (8-16, 1-11) at 7 p.m. Monday. St. Stephens (18-6, 9-3), the No. 3 seed, hosts No. 6 Hibriten (8-15, 1-11) at 7 p.m. Monday.
Hickory beat Alexander Central in the tournament finals in 2012.
The semifinals and the finals of the tournament are at Hickory High School on Friday.
Northwestern Conference Tournament
At higher seeded sites
(5) Hibriten at (4) Watauga, 6:30 p.m.
(7) St. Stephens at (2) Fred T. Foard, 6:30 p.m.
(6) South Caldwell at (3) Alexander Central, 7 p.m.
Semifinals (at Hickory High School)
Watauga-Hibriten winner vs. Hickory, 6:30 p.m.
Fred T. Foard-St. Stephens winner vs. Alexander Central-South Caldwell winner, 8 p.m.
Finals (at Hickory High School)
Championship game, 6:30 p.m.
At higher seeded sites
(5) South Caldwell at (4) Watauga, 8 p.m.
(6) Hibriten at (3) St. Stephens, 7 p.m.
(7) Alexander Central at (2) Hickory, 7 p.m.
(at Hickory High School)
Watauga-South Caldwell winner vs. (1) Fred T. Foard, 6:30 p.m.
Hickory-Alexander Central winner vs. Hibriten-St. Stephens winner, 8 p.m.
At Hickory High
Championship game, 8 p.m.