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The Watauga Storm eighth-grade basketball team left to right, front row includes Maddisen Robinson, Makenzie Thompson, Makenzie Thompson. Back row is Madie Darner, Gracie Proffit, Sophie Reese, Kaylee Cottom, Vanessa Saufley. Not pictured, Taylor Walker

Originally published: 2014-05-07 13:15:21
Last modified: 2014-05-07 13:26:57

Storm eight-grade girls team finishes second in tournament

by Staff Reports

MORGANTON -- The Watauga Storm eighth-grade girls basketball team finished second this past weekend at the 2014 Patriots Shootout Classic held in Morganton.


In the first game of the tournament, the Storm played the Liberty Knights 41-34. 


After a slow start by both teams, Vanessa Saufley came off the bench to provide a spark for the Storm. Saufley knocked down three first half 3-pointers and helped lead the Storm to a 17-9 halftime lead. 


A furious second half rally by the Knights gave them the lead with less than five minutes to go in the game, but the Storm was able to go nine of 10 from the free throw line towards the end of the game. Saufley, Makenzie Thompson, Maddisen Robinson, and Madie Darner all knocked down key free throws down the stretch. 


The Storm was led in scoring by Saufley with 15 points. Darner added 10 points, Thompson chipped in seven points and Kaylee Cottom came off the bench to chip in six points.


The Storm play the Burke Jammers next and took a 41-12 victory. 


After another slow start, the Storm's led13-8 halfway through the first half. After a Watauga timeout to focus on defense, the Storm went on a 22-2 run over the next eight minutes to take a commanding 35-10 lead with a little over eleven minutes to go in the second half. 


Darner led the Storm in scoring with 18 points including 14 points in the first half. Saufley also had six points and Maddisen Robinson added five points.


The victory against the Burke Jammers propelled the Storm to the championship game against the Appalachian Avalanche. The Storm struggled to fine their shot in the championship game and lost 39-16 after falling behind early.


The Avalanche hit on all cylinders in the game and won going away. The Storm was led in scoring by Darner who finished with 10 points. It was the Storm's first runner-up finish of the season.


The Storm also received critical contributions from Sophie Reese with her defense and rebounding, Gracie Proffit who had three points in the tournament, Makenzie Robinson who provided solid perimeter defense, and Taylor Walker who also had three points in the tournament. 


The Storm plays in a tournament on May 17 in Sparta.