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Originally published: 2013-02-28 19:46:31
Last modified: 2013-02-28 19:46:31

WHS girls nearly upset North Meck

by Staff Reports

HUNTERSVILLE — Watauga’s girls’ basketball team came within one point of pulling off the upset of the state 4-A playoffs.
Instead, North Mecklenburg, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, managed to claim a 69-64 overtime victory over the visiting Pioneers in the second round of the playoffs Wednesday. Watauga, which was trying to reach the third round of the state playoffs since 1997, finished this season with a 12-14 record.
The Pioneers, two days off a victory over East Gaston in the first round of the playoffs, were seeded eighth in the playoffs. They went into their game with North Mecklenburg a heavy underdog, but did not play the role of the easy mark.
“We really talked to the girls that somewhere in the state, there was going to be a No. 1 seed who is going to be upset by a No. 8 or a No. 9 seed,” Pioneers coach Klay Anderson said. “It happens on every level, so why not us? We made clutch shots in the second half and we took the lead for the first time with under a minute to go. Everything seemed to fall into place.”
Watauga claimed a 61-60 lead on a 3-point basket by Clare Harris with 40 seconds left in regulation. North Mecklenburg tied the game 61-61 when Kelly Beasley hit a foul shot inside of 10 seconds of the regulation period.
Watauga had a chance one possession before to ice the game after getting a rebound with 20 seconds left.
But the ball was knocked away and awarded to North Mecklenburg.
The Vikings pulled away in the overtime period after senior Hannah Margolis fouled out in the first minute of the extra quarter. Margolis and Harris both finished with 12 points.
“When Margolis fouled out one minute into overtime, we fought hard, but it took away one of our primary weapons,” Anderson said.
North Mecklenburg took a 68-61 lead, but Savanna Wood kept the Pioneers’ hopes alive with a 3-point basket with 1:21 left. Watauga could not get closer than four points the rest of the game.
Wood led the Pioneers with 24 points. Ryan Loflin, who started the 2012-13 season on the junior varsity, added 15 points and grabbed five rebounds against North Mecklenburg.
“We left a few points at the free throw line,” Anderson said. “We missed two one-and-ones in the fourth quarter, but it all evens out over the course of the game. You have to give North Meck credit. It got down to the final minute in the overtime, and we had to start fouling. They stepped up and knocked them down.”
The Pioneers got off to a slow start against the Vikings, but were never completely out of the game either.
Watauga trailed 23-15 after the first period, but stood its ground in the second quarter and trailed 43-32 at halftime.
Watauga started to rally in the third quarter and tied the game 52-52.