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Originally published: 2013-12-04 01:48:09
Last modified: 2013-12-04 01:49:09

Watauga boys' varsity beats Avery

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Watauga's outside shooting can build the Pioneers double-digit leads. They can also keep the Pioneers from holding leads if the shots don't go in.

Watauga, which made 10 3-point shots in a victory over Wilkes Central, made nine of them in a 63-51 victory over visiting Avery in front of a near capacity crowd

at Lentz-Eggers Gym Tuesday.

Senior guard Jay Harrill made four of them and led Watauga in scoring with 20 points. Utah Jones made two 3-pointers and Eli Gailes, Cam Baker and Matt Lambert each added a 3-pointers for the Pioneers, who got five of them when they outscored the Vikings 20-4 in the second quarter.

That run turned a 16-11 Avery lead into a 31-20 Watauga advantage. The Pioneers went up 38-23 in the third quarter, but Avery started its comeback by closing the lead to 44-34 going into the fourth quarter.

"To be honest, during one of the timeouts we told them that we really felt like that when we were the aggressive team and attacking them both offensively and defensively, we were getting the shots we wanted," Pioneers coach Rob Sanders said. "We were getting the calls we wanted and we were creating offense off our defense. Then we had a stretch when they went on a 16-5 run and it was all us being back on our heels. Everything they did was easy."

Avery opened the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run, capped by a three-point play from Ty Polsgrove that brought the Vikings to within 46-41. Harrill fired back with his third 3-pointer of the game to stop the run and refuel Watauga's offense.

The Pioneers were not completely out of danger after a Jeffery Puckett 3-pointer with 36.1 seconds left sliced Watauga's lead to 58-51. Watauga made five out of its six foul shots in the final 30.2 seconds of the game to hang on to the win.

"Basketball is a game of runs," Watauga forward Michael Ebaugh said. "That's what coach Sanders always tells us. We've got to be able to stop their run and bounce back when you face adversity and that's what we did."

"We had a group on the floor that was pretty tough defensively and took care of the ball," Avery coach Scott Polsgrove said. "We got some drives to the basket and got some and-one opportunities. That allowed is to score and to get to the line and be able to set up our defense with the clock stopped."

Ty Polsgrove, who led the Vikings in scoring with 12 points, was playing in his first athletic game since shattering his hip in the first 10 minutes of the first football practice of 2013. Two metal plates and eight screws were put in his hip to stabilize the bone, according to Scott Polsgrove, his father and basketball coach.

Ty Polsgrove was in a wheelchair for eight weeks, but worked ahead of schedule to get on the basketball court.

"I couldn't be more proud of how he rehabbed to be able to do what he did tonight," Scott Polsgrove said. "We were initially told it was going to be six months and it's 18 weeks. As a dad I'm proud, and as a coach, I'm proud of what he's done to get himself back."

Baker finished with 14 points, Jones scored 12 and Gailes added seven points for the Pioneers.

Watauga plays at Alexander Central today and host Ashe on Friday.

Avery plays at Alleghany on Friday and hosts Watauga on Monday.

 

Watauga boys 63, Avery 51

Avery 51

Waldrop 3 0-1 8, Watson 2 5-6 9, Polsgrove 4 4-4 12, Stewart 1 0-0 2, Puckett 2 0-2 5, Bauer 1 0-0 2, Crowe 4 1-1 9, Phillips 1 0-0 2, Wotell 1 0-0 2, Tennant 0 0-0 0, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Pittman 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 10-13 51.

Watauga 63 (2-0)

Harrill 6 4-5 20, Gailes 1 4-4 7, Poulos 0 1-2 1, Dobbins 1 1-1 3, Jones 4 2-5 12, Baker 6 1-2 14, Lambert 1 0-0 3, Ebaugh 0 0-0 0, Eggers 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 14-21 63.

Avery  16 4 14 17 -- 51

Watauga          11 20 13 19 -- 63

3-point goals--Avery 3 (Waldrop 2, Puckett), Watauga 9 (Harrill 4, Jones 2, Gailes, Baker, Lambert). Total fouls--Avery 22, Watauga 15. Fouled out--None. Technical fouls--None.