WHS girls cruise past Ashe County
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga coach Klay Anderson likes the idea when all of his players contribute to the scoring column. He knows that Hannah Margolis and Savanna Wood, the top scorers returning from last season, will eventually rise to the top of the scoring column.
Both did in Watauga’s 47-33 victory over border rival Ashe at Lentz-Eggers Gym on Friday. Margolis, Watauga’s 5-foot-11 point guard, led all scorers with 15 points by taking the ball to the basket more than she did in the Pioneers’ first two games.
The pair helped Watauga (3-0) beat Ashe (0-3) for the first time 15 tries. It also helped Watauga get off to its first 3-0 start since the 1998-99 season when the Pioneers opened the season with a 6-0 start.
“It’s been a really sweet last two weeks and we’re enjoying the moment right now taking it day by day and waiting for our next challenge,” Anderson said.
Wood scored 10 points after hitting a 3-point shot and making 5-of-6 foul shots. All of her foul shots were take in the final two minutes of the game when Watauga was trying to hold off any possible Ashe rally.
The Pioneers also got 12 points from Clare Harris, who was the leading scorer on the junior varsity team last season.
Watauga outscored Ashe 9-2 in the third quarter to pull away for good. Ashe scored just one basket in 11 possessions, while Watauga scored on three straight possessions in the final 1:10, which was capped by a Kaelin McNeill basket, to take a 32-23 into the fourth quarter.
Watauga added a 3-pointer by Harris and a Margolis bucket on a Tori Derrick assist to take a 37-25 lead with 4:25 left. Ashe never got closer than eight points the rest of the game.
“Our defense was the key,” Anderson said. “We had two kind of small spurts during the game and they were both keyed upon solid defense. Then Hannah and Clare stepped up big. Clare knocked down a couple of threes and Hannah doing what she’s able to do; get to the rim and grabbing a few rebounds and putting them back.”
Neither team could muster all that much offense in a first half that saw the Pioneers take a 23-21 lead into halftime. Watauga committed turnovers on its first three possessions before Wood scored on a jump shot with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
Watauga was not the lone offender. After taking a 4-0 lead, Ashe did not score on its next 11 possessions during a stretch when Watauga went on a 9-0 run to take a 9-4 lead.
The Pioneers eventually took a 17-10 lead, but Ashe countered with a quick 6-0 mini-run and closed to 17-16.
Ashe, which made four 3-pointers, got eight points from Ashton Lee, who made two of the Huskies’ four 3-pointers. Paige Spell added six points.
“The score was not an indication of how close the game was,” Ashe coach Laura Foster said. “I thought my kids played really hard. We’re really young this year and we knew that this is Watauga’s year. They’ve got really good players and veteran players, but I’m proud of my kids.”
Watauga faces a tough test Tuesday when the Pioneers play at McDowell.
Watauga girls 47, Ashe 33
Reed 1 0-1 2, Hudler 1 0-0 3, Lee 2 2-4 8, Spell 2 2-4 6, Reavis 1 1-2 4, Lopp 2 0-0 4, Flanagan 2 0-0 4, Brown 1 0-0 2, Parks 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 5-11 33.
Wood 2 5-6 10, Derrick 2 0-0 4, Margolis 7 1-1 15, Harris 5 0-1 12, McNeill 2 0-0 4, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Makarova 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 6-8 47.
Ashe 8 13 4 8 — 33
Watauga 9 14 9 15 — 47
3-point goals—Ashe 4 (Lee 2, Hudler, Reavis), Watauga 3 (Harris 2, Wood). Rebounds—Ashe 31 (Three with five), Watauga 29 (McNeill 9). Turnovers—Ashe 19, Watauga 15. Total fouls—Ashe 13, Watauga 13. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.