Pioneers host Fred T. Foard
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
The Pioneers take on a Fred T. Foard team that has lost just one time in the Northwestern Conference this season. The Tigers beat Watauga 46-42 on Jan. 30 after the Pioneers rallied from a 42-33 deficit.
Watauga has not seen the court since until Tuesday when the Pioneers lost to Alexander Central 56-49. Flooding brought on by heavy rain that fell that Jan. 27 kept the Pioneers out of practice the next two nights. The snow that fell Saturday kept the Pioneers out of the practice gym on Saturday and forced the second postponement of the Pioneers’ game with Foard that was rescheduled for Monday.
“We haven’t seen the court since last Wednesday,” Pioneers coach Klay Anderson said. “One thing is we are well rested. They don’t have any burnout in them. Knock wood, we’ll be healthy and rested.”
Watauga also hosts South Caldwell on Friday. Watauga beat South Caldwell earlier in the season.
“From my perspective, I wish we could have played Monday,” Anderson said. “Looking ahead, our last five games are super important. Alexander Central and Foard are at the top, so we probably can’t catch them. We have to stay in front of Hibriten and South Caldwell. We wanted to have two days off before we played South, but we’re not going to get that. We’ll have to just roll with the punches.”
Anderson liked how his Pioneers slowed down the potentially explosive Foard offense. The Tigers, who have four players who stand 5-foot-10, like to get out on the fast break, or work the ball inside for easy layups.
Watauga used a tightly packed 2-3 zone to force the Tigers to shoot from the outside. Foard made five 3-point baskets, but Watauga took the sting out of that by making two of its own, both by Clare Harris.
“Their biggest strength is their athleticism,” Anderson said. “They want to get into the open floor and run and make easy shots. That’s not just layups, but they’ll also take quick shots and then got to the boards and get the rebound. We tried to negate their athleticism with a 2-3 zone and get their players to stand still.”
Watauga got 15 points from Hannah Margolis and 10 points from Savanna Wood in the Pioneers’ last game with Foard. Watauga trailed 45-42, but could not convert a 3-point shot attempt with five seconds left in the game.
The loss came on the heels of a 64-37 loss to Hickory one day earlier. Both of those games were away from Lentz-Eggers Gym.
The Pioneers went through a stretch where they played five straight games on the road.
Watauga’s next four games are at home. After playing three games this week at home, the Pioneers host Hibriten at home on Feb. 12 before closing out the season Feb. 15 at St. Stephens.
“Our schedule is so crazy with the long homestand and the long road stretch,” Anderson said. “It seems like we’ve been on the road since December. We play well at home. We’ve only had one poor showing all year at home, so I like our chances.”