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Originally published: 2013-02-13 20:27:44
Last modified: 2013-02-13 20:27:44

WHS boys slip past Hibriten 51-49

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Jay Harrill continues to make key plays for Watauga’s boys’ basketball team.

The junior forward came off the bench to score 11 points, including a key steal in the final seconds of the Pioneers’ 51-49 victory over Hibriten at Lentz-Eggers Gym Tuesday. Watauga (12-8, 6-5) will host a first-round Northwestern Conference Tournament game on Feb. 25. Watauga is also the No. 1 state 4-A seed from the NWC.

Harrill, who has made key shots that either extended, or even won games in the past, stopped a Hibriten chance to win the game by stealing the ball at half court with four seconds left.

Harrill was fouled, and made a free throw with 1.3 seconds left to seal the victory. Harrill, who made a 3-pointer inside of two minutes of the game to put the Pioneers in front 50-43, finished with 11 points.

“He got a huge steal at the end of the game,” Pioneers coach Rob Sanders said. “That’s back-to-back games where he’s come up with a huge defensive stop that sealed the game for us.”

Watauga (12-8, 6-5 NWC) seemed safe after taking a 50-43 lead, but Hibriten answered with a Manza Hunt 3-point basket that brought the Panthers to within four. Hibriten (8-13, 1-10) came out of a timeout and went from a zone to a trapping defense that caught the Pioneers by surprise.

Watauga started to self-destruct by turning the ball over three straight times, but Hibriten could only get a 3-point basket from Manza during the stretch.

 “They’ve got nothing to lose,” Sanders said. “As long as you let them hang around the more dangerous they become. You have to give them credit. They really changed from the beginning when they were in a man and went back to that zone and it changed the tempo of the game.”

Watauga got 13 points from Cam Baker and nine each from Collin Augustine and Ben Margolis. Augustine got off to a fast start by scoring the Pioneers’ first five points. He also grabbed a rebound and grabbed two steals during the first two minutes of the game.

Watauga led 19-13 at the end of the first quarter after taking a 19-9 lead.

“All night it seemed that every time we’d get to the point where we’re about to break the game open, they’d step up and hit a bunch of big shots,” Sanders said. “They’d get a couple of run-outs and all of a sudden it’s a six-point ballgame or a five-point ballgame. It just seemed to go back and forth all night.”

The Panthers got 25 points from Kel Berry.

Watauga closes out its season Friday at St. Stephens. The two battled through eight overtimes, the second highest total in North Carolina prep basketball history, the first time the teams play.

St. Stephens won the game.103-98. Harrill hit a jumper that extended the game into a fourth overtime with a jump shot that tied the score 75-75.

 

Watauga boys 51, Hibriten 49

Hibriten (8-13, 1-10)

Hunt 1 0-0 3, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Caldwell 1 0-0 2, Davis 1 3-4 5, Berry 10 2-4 25, Felder 2 3-4 7, Benfield 2 1-4 5, Bolick 0 0-0 0, Poarch 0 0-0 0, Waters 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 9-16 49.

Watauga (12-8, 6-5)

Harrill 4 1-2 11, Steury 1 0-0 2, Sturgill 2 0-0 4, Augustine 4 1-1 9, Margolis 3 2-5 9, Koppenhaver 0 2-2 2, Baker 6 1-1 13, Howser 0 1-2 1, Mackey 0 0-0 0, Lambert 0 0-0 0, Gailes 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 8-13 51.

Hibriten 13 12 7 17 — 49

Watauga          19 10 7 15 — 51

3-point goals—Hibriten 4 (Berry 3, Hunt), Watauga 3 (Harrill 2, Margolis). Total fouls—Hibriten 12, Watauga 16. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.