Watauga boys drop tough loss to Foard
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
CONOVER — Watauga rallied from a late eight-point deficit to nearly beat Foard, but a 3-point basket would not fall with seven seconds left for the Pioneers, who lost their second straight road game in as many days.
Instead, Fred T. Foard survived Watauga's late rally and took a 53-49 victory at Jerry Copas Gym. Just one day earlier, Hickory beat the Pioneers 75-52.
There would be no blowout at Foard. Watauga trailed 46-38 with 3:44 left in the game, but rallied with help from an old-fashioned three-point play by Cam Baker, a 2-point jump shot from Jay Harrill followed by a 3-point Harrill jumper with 53 seconds left to climb to within 50-49.
Watauga had a final possession following a Foard miss. Watauga point guard Eli Gailes, who finished with five assists, dribbled down the clock to seven seconds before finding Harrill open in the corner of the court.
Harrill’s shot bounced twice on the rim, but would not go through. Foard added three foul shots in the final four seconds, one of them following a Watauga turnover, to ice the win.
“I thought it was going in,” Harrill said. “It was halfway down there, but it popped out. It was just unlucky.”
Pioneers coach Rob Sanders felt that Harrill was ideal to take the final shot since he already made six jump shots. Sanders also was happy with how Gailes worked the clock before finding Harrell open.
“Eli did a really good job of being patient,” Sanders said.
“We knew where we wanted to go and the play we wanted to run. You want to take
as much time off the clock that you can. However, you get into the situation
when your shooter comes open, you have to make sure you can an open look at it
and we got an open look. Unfortunately, it didn’t go down.”
Harrill came off the bench to score 17 points. Tyler
Sturgill added nine points and four rebounds. Baker added seven points and
pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Jordan Turner scored 13 points for Foard.
Not a lot of those points were scored in the first half. The teams ended the first two quarters tied at 18-18 after both teams struggled with making baskets and turnovers. Watauga turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, while the Tigers nine times in the first 16 minutes of the game.
Sanders blamed poor execution of the Pioneers’ motion offense. Often times, point guard DeWayne Mackey struggled to find an open shooter.
“We were relying too much on motion, and the one key aspect you have to have in your motion offense is movement,” Sanders said. “Nobody was moving. Nobody was cutting, we weren’t setting screens, we were standing around waiting for DeWayne to do something with the basketball, and that ended up working one-on-four, one-on-five.”
Watauga gets another chance at Foard sooner than usual. The Pioneers host Foard Monday in another makeup game with the Tigers.
Fred T. Foard boys 53, Watauga 49
Harrill 7 0-0 17, Sturgill 3 3-4 9, Augustine 1 0-2 2, Margolis 2 0-0 6, Koppenhaver 2 0-0 4, Baker 3 1-1 7, Howser 0 3-4 3, Mackey 0 1-2 1, Lambert 0 0-0 0, Steury 0 0-0 0, Eggers 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-13 49.
Fred T. Foard
Bliss 1 0-0 3, Matthews 2 0-1 5, Cameron 2 0-0 5, Turner 5 3-4 13, Falgout 3 1-2 8, Barnes 2 0-0 5, Tomberlin 0 1-2 1, Isenhour 4 0-0 8, Kirk 2 1-4 5.Teague 0 0-0 0, Schimat 0 0-0 0, Wigington 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 6-13 53.
Watauga 10 8 14 17 — 49
Fred T. Foard 9 9 20 15 — 53
3-point goals—WHS 5 (Harrill 3, Margolis 2), Foard 5 (Bliss, Matthews, Cameron, Falgout, Barnes). Total fouls—WHS 16, Foard 16. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.