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Originally published: 2013-01-24 01:03:55
Last modified: 2013-01-24 15:58:53

Pioneers cruise past Hibriten

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

LENOIR — If Watauga’s boys’ basketball team was fatigued by an eight-overtime game one night earlier, the Pioneers did not show it Wednesday night.

Watauga jumped out to a fast lead and never let Hibriten get too close in a 59-35 victory over the Panthers at Hibriten’s gym. Watauga scored 20 points in the first quarter and then outscored Hibriten 33-16 in the second half.

Watauga shook off a disappointing 103-98 loss to St. Stephens that last eight overtimes. The game finished at 11 p.m., but Watauga caught a break when school on Wednesday was delayed two hours. It allowed the Pioneers to get some extra sleep, which they seemed to use to their advantage.

Pioneers coach Rob Sanders was able to rest his starters for much of the second half, including nearly all of the fourth quarter. Watauga has an off day Thursday before hosting Fred T. Foard on Friday, weather permitting.

“It was huge for us,” Sanders said. “I told them before the game that it was going to take a total team effort. We knew we were going to have to sub early and often and try to keep our legs for the second half.”

One of those players who came off the bench was Collin Augustine, who scored 15 points. Starter Ben Howser also scored 15 points for the Pioneers.

Cam Baker added eight and DeWayne Mackey scored seven.

“I wanted us to get to halftime with nobody in foul trouble and fairly fresh legs,” Sanders said. “You can’t really have fresh legs after playing last night, but they were as fresh as they could be, so we could come out and attack in the second half with a man-to-man defense. The situation just played out perfectly for us.”

Watauga started fast by scoring on seven of its first eight possessions. That allowed the Pioneers to take a 14-5 lead that would not be seriously challenged. Watauga led 20-11 after the first quarter, though Hibriten closed to 24-15 in the second.

The Pioneers led 26-19 by halftime, but outscored the Panthers 16-7 to take a commanding 42-26 lead into the fourth quarter.

Sanders told his players to see the game as an opportunity to prove they can face adversity more than a problem of overwork.

“Everybody is ready to give you an excuse to lose tonight,” Sanders said. “This is not tough. It’s basketball. Just got out and play. There are a lot tougher things in life than having to play a doubleheader one night and having to show up the next night and play. Go out and have fun.”

Kel Berry led Hibriten with 18 points. No other Panther scored more than five.


Watauga 59, Hibriten 35

Watauga (9-5, 3-2)

Harrill 1 0-0 3, Steury 1 0-0 2, Sturgill 0 2-2 2, Gailes 1 0-0 2, Augustine 7 1-1 15,  Koppenhaver 3 0-0 6, Baker 4 0-0 8, Howser 6 3-4 15, Mackey 3 0-0 7, Lambert 0 0-0 0, Margolis 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 6-7 59.


Hunt 2 0-0 5, Caldwell 2 1-1 5, Poarch 1 0-0 2, Davis 0 0-0 0, Berry 7 1-2 18, Benfield 1 1-3 3, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Waters 0 0-0 0, Bolick 0 0-0 0, Braswell 0 0-0 0, Felder 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 3-8 35.

Watauga 20 6 16 17 — 59

Hibriten           11 8 7 9 — 35

3-point goals—Watauga 1 (Mackey), Hibriten 4 (Berry 3, Hunt). Total fouls—Watauga 11, Hibriten 8. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.