By David Rogers. February 2, 2018. BOONE, NC — Based on records and previous performances, nobody in Lentz Eggers Gym Friday night really expected that Watauga men’s basketball would prevail over top-ranked Hickory. And they didn’t, but even in the 90-60 loss the Pioneers played better than expected.
A pair of Red Tornadoes, Cody Young and Torey James each scored a game-high 22 points, while Davis Amos tallied 11 to also register in double figures.
The Pioneer tandem of shooting guards Bryant Greene and Alex Marinakis recorded 20 and 11 points, respectively to lead the home team’s offensive effort.
While Watauga’s hoopsters exhibited plenty of grit and heart, Hickory just had too much speed, athleticism, height and discipline. Confident, but not arrogant, Hickory jumped out to a 22-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, then expanded their advantage to 18 points by intermission (46-28). The Red Tornadoes leveraged that momentum in the second half, outscoring the Pioneers, 44-32 after intermission.
Pioneer head coach Rob Sanders marveled, afterwards, about just how good the Hickory men are, suggesting that the Red Tornadoes are among the very best teams in the state.
“I hear Cox Mill has a good team,” Sanders said. “That matchup would be fun to watch.”
At 18-3, MaxPreps.com has Cox Mill ranked atop the North Carolina 3A standings, Hickory 7th. Watauga (10-7 overall) is ranked 50th out of the 113 Class 3A teams.
Watauga has another tough week ahead to finish out the regular season as they look to secure the fourth seed in the Northwestern Conference tournament, guaranteeing a first round home game, and become the third place NWC team (behind Hickory and Morganton-Freedom) aiming for the Class 3A state tournament.
On Monday, Watauga heads to St. Stephens for a previously postponed date because of a snow day. On Tuesday, they host Freedom on Senior Night, and on Friday they travel for a rematch at West Caldwell to finish the regular season schedule.
- 22 — Torey James
- 22 — Cody Young
- 11 — Davis Amos
- 9 — Jackson Bell
- 9 — James Freeman
- 8 — Richard Abler
- 4 — Jaavon Thurman
- 2 — Mason Long
- 2 — Grant Amos
- 1 — Jaylin Harper
- 20 — Bryant Greene
- 11 — Alex Marinakis
- 8 — Hayes Henderson
- 6 — Jonathan McClennon
- 4 — Sam Crabbe
- 4 — Alex McConnell
- 4 — Jaidon Bond
- 3 — Zach West