Watauga girls sweep South Caldwell
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga scored more points in the third quarter than it did in the first half in its 43-30 victory over visiting South Caldwell Friday at Lentz-Eggers Gym.
The Pioneers, who have just two games left on their regular season schedule, completed a season sweep of South Caldwell. Watauga hosts Hibriten on Senior Night on Tuesday, then closes out the season Feb. 15 at St. Stephens.
Watauga scored just 15 points in the first half Friday, but still led 15-14 by halftime. Watauga pulled away from South Caldwell after outscoring the Spartans 16-5 in the third quarter. Clare Harris drained two 3-pointers, including one with 14 seconds left in the quarter, to spark the Watauga offense.
Watauga coach Klay Anderson was determined to have Watauga’s offense improve from the first half. He was motivated by a statement made by assistant coach Chad Callaway.
“Coach Callaway made a statement coming out of the tunnel, it might be the first team to 30 tonight,” Anderson said. “I said, ‘Shoot, we’re going to be to 30 this quarter.’ We turned it on and had 16 that quarter and it was all spurned by our defense. We challenged the girls at halftime to play better defense and deny the passing lanes.”
Anderson wanted the Pioneers to concentrate on taking away the passing lanes along the perimeter and force turnovers on the outside.
Watauga got two steals and forced two turnovers during the third quarter. The Pioneers also outrebounded South Caldwell 8-2 and held the Spartans to 2-of-6 shooting in the quarter.
“We felt like they had some inexperience along the perimeter,” Anderson said. “So we felt like they would turn it over to us if we just jumped into the passing lanes. It’s kind of like that momentum or that mojo that starts happening. You kind of feed off it. We got a couple of steals out front and a couple of layups.”
Watauga took its largest lead of 16 points twice in the fourth quarter. The final time was when Tasha Wilson scored on a Savanna Wood assist to put the Pioneers in front 43-27.
Wilson was playing for the first time since she injured her ankle at Avery on Dec. 7.
Hannah Margolis scored five of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter. Harris added 10 points for the Pioneers.
Anderson said Harris’ shooting took South Caldwell out of defenses designed to stop Wood and Margolis.
“I thought Clare Harris had an excellent second half,” Anderson said. “She had no points in the first half and she had 10 in the second half, which was huge. Once she stated making shots, they could not stay in a diamond-and-one or triangle-and-two and give that type of look. They had to guard everybody.”
Watauga helped itself by making four 3-point baskets, and by making 7-of-10 from the foul line.
Caleigh Raby led the Spartans with 12 points.
Watauga girls 43, South Caldwell 30
Gosnell 1 0-0 2, Raby 5 0-0 12, Potter 3 0-0 6, Wood 1 4-8 6, Everhart 0 2-2 2, Friel 1 0-0 2, Wohala 0 0-0 0, Korobeyko 0 0-0 0, Wallace 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 6-10 30.
Wood 1 1-2 4, Margolis 7 3-3 18, Harris 4 0-0 10, McNeill 1 0-0 2, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Loflin 1 3-5 5, Welsh 1 0-0 2, Derrick 0 0-0 0, Westphal 0 0-0 0, Makarova 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 7-10 43.
South Caldwell 11 3 5 11 — 30
Watauga 6 9 16 12 — 43
3-point goals—South Caldwell 2 (Raby 2), Watauga 4 (Harris 2, Wood, Margolis). Total fouls—South Caldwell 12, Watauga 10. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None.