Page sails past Watauga in playoffs
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Page is the top-seeded team in the state 4-A Western Region, and the No. 3 4-A ranked team in North Carolina by ncpreps.com. The Pirates put on an offensive clinic in their 102-64 win over visiting Watauga in the third round of the state playoffs Friday in a game that once saw Page score at a 120-point pace.
"That's one of the most athletic high school basketball teams I've seen in my 10 years that I've coached, and we've seen some good basketball teams," Watauga coach Rob Sanders said.
Watauga's season ended with a 19-10 record. The Pioneers' appearance in the third round was just their second since the school was founded in 1965 and their first since 2010.
Their chances to reach the regional semifinals for the first time ended in the first quarter. Two foul shots by Watauga's T.J. Poulos pulled the Pioneers to 21-13. Page closed out the final 2:07 of the game by sprinting to a 9-0 run and a 30-13 lead.
"In the game film we had to watch them, they didn't shoot that well," Sanders said. "Maybe they just got really hot tonight from the outside, but you can't mistake their size and their ability to control the boards and clean up every miss they had."
The Pirates (26-2) made 13-of-19 shots (68 percent) from the field in the first quarter. Four of those missed shots ended up in offensive rebounds and two ended up in stickbacks. Watauga had to deal with 6-foot-7 center Xavier Hill-Mais, 6-6 forward Jeremy Harris and then 6-5 Diondre Overton coming off the bench.
But it was the Pirates' perimeter shooting that sunk the Pioneers. Overall, Page made 39-of-66 shots from the field (59 percent). Of those field goals, 14 of them were 3-point baskets.
"In the film we saw, they hit three 3s all game," Watauga guard Jay Harrill said. "They hit that many tonight in the first two minutes, so that caught us a little off guard. We thought they were more of a post-oriented team, but their guards went off tonight."
Page guard Anthony Eaves made six of those 3-point shots to finish with 24 points.
Page also got 19 points from Harris, 18 points from guard Ty Graves and 12 points from 6-4 forward Jalen Seegars.
Kevin Fussell came off the bench in the fourth quarter and made three 3-pointers for his nine points.
Watauga did not convert on its final four possessions at the end of the first quarter. Page turned on its afterburners by outscoring Watauga 16-4 in the first 5:05 in the second quarter to claim a 46-18 lead that was never challenged.
The Pirates led 56-24 by halftime, and took their largest lead late in the fourth quarter when they went in front 75-36 after making five straight shots.
Watauga made nine 3-point shots, which is usually enough shots to keep the Pioneers close.
"We talked about how we didn't want to give them any chance to get comfortable," Page coach James Abell said. "We wanted to come out and plan aggressive man (defense). Make every pass and every shot hard and then when you get tired, let us know and we'll get some subs in there to play hard and then you'll come back when you're ready to go."
Watauga got 16 points from Matt Lambert and 14 from Harrill, who needed all four of his 3-point baskets to set a new season school record of 78 3-point baskets.
Cam Baker and Aaron Dobbins each scored seven points for the Pioneers. Watauga made 11-of-12 foul shots.
Greensboro Page 102, Watauga 64
Watauga 64 (19-10)
Harrill 5 0-0 14, Eggers 2 0-0 6, Gailes 0 4-4 4, Poulos 1 2-2 4, Dobbins 3 0-0 7, Jones 1 4-4 6, Baker 3 1-1 7, Lambert 7 0-1 16, Bryson 0 0-0 0, Ebaugh 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 11-12 64.
Greensboro Page 102 (26-2)
Fussell 3 0-0 9, Garvin 2 0-0 4, Graves 6 2-2 18, Banks 2 0-0 4, Eaves 7 4-4 24, Harris 8 1-6 19, Seegars 6 0-0 12, Hill-Mais 2 0-0 4, Melton 1 0-0 3, Overton 2 1-2 3, Enderburg 0 0-0 0. Totals 39 8-15 102.
Watauga 13 11 19 21 -- 64
Page 30 26 19 27 -- 102
3-point goals--Watauga 9 (Harrill 4, Eggers 2, Lambert 2, Dobbins), Page 14 (Eaves 6, Graves 4, Fussell 3, Melton). Rebounds--Watauga 29 (Dobbins 9), Page 43 (Eaves 9). Turnovers--Watauga 8, Page 4. Total fouls--Watauga 13, Page 12. Fouled out--None. Technical fouls--None.