St. Stephens smothers Watauga boys
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Despite the loss, Watauga hosts South Caldwell in the first round of the Northwestern Conference Tournament. The Pioneers, who finished fourth in the NWC, plays South Caldwell at 8 p.m. Monday.
St. Stephens (18-6, 9-3), which finished in a tie for second in the Northwestern Conference with Hickory, took a 41-13 lead by halftime against the shell-shocked Pioneers, who actually led 2-0 at the start of the game, but gave up a 7-0 run and never retook the lead.
Just a month earlier, the teams played eight overtimes in a game that ended with St. Stephens taking a 103-98 victory. Playing an overtime period would not be an option on Friday night, which was also Senior Night for St. Stephens.
“Senior Night is a special night and being the home team sometimes gives you an advantage and a purpose that sometimes the visitors don’t have,” St. Stephens coach Murphy Post said. “Our seniors played with a whole lot of enthusiasm and that was a huge difference.”
St. Stephens continued to take control of the game by getting a 3-point basket from Cameron Craig, and a 3-pointer from standout guard Kerigan Farley to spark a quarter that saw the Indians take a 23-9 lead.
It only got worse for Watauga in the second quarter. The Pioneers’ Tyler Sturgill scored the first basket, but St. Stephens scored the next 18 points to take a 41-11 lead.
Cam Baker ended the run with a basket scored with 50 seconds left in the half.
“We’re playing our best basketball of the year right now,” Post said. “The loss to Hickory on Tuesday aside, we’re playing solid basketball right now.”
Watauga outscored St. Stephens 45-37 in the second half, but never got closer than 20 points the rest of the game.
Farley led all scorers with 26 points. Logan Starkey added 18 points after making four 3-point baskets. Zach Houston scored 13.
Watauga got 16 points from Baker and 13 from DeWayne Mackey.