By David Rogers. December 19, 2017. TAYLORSVILLE, NC — When a basketball team pulls down almost 32% more offensive rebounds (29) than defensive rebounds (22), you know they are missing a lot of shots. The good news for Watauga’s women’s basketball team Tuesday night against Alexander Central is that many of their follow-up shots after the offensive rebounds found their way to the bottom of the net. The Pioneers out-hustled, out-raced, out-shot, and out-pressured the Cougars in front of almost 600 fans at the Cougar gymnasium, 81-40.
COVER IMAGE: Watauga guard Madie Darner dribbles around Alexander Central en route to the basket. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.
The win was Watauga’s fifth overall for the young season as they improve their record to 5-2 (2-0 in Northwestern Conference play).
For the Pioneers, guard Madie Darner registered game highs in points (22) and assists (6), to go along with 10 rebounds (8 of them off the offensive glass). Sophomore guard Brooke Byrd also recorded a double-double with a game high 11 rebounds joined by 14 points, three assists and a game-high six steals.
Four of the Watauga starters posted double figures in scoring. Besides Darner and Byrd, senior power forward Parris Bolick and sophomore guard Rebekah Farthing had 13 and 18, respectively.
While the decision was never in doubt after the Pioneers jumped out to a 31-16 lead after the first quarter and 46-18 at intermission, the visitors from the High Country ran away with it in outpointing the Cougars 22-2 in the third quarter.
The Pioneer romp came with only seven players filling out the evening roster, as the death of a family friend sidelined two athletes, Cailey Haas and Libby Warren, while it was explained to Blowing Rock News that Alyssa Lopez was unavailable due to illness.
Being short-handed meant a lot more court time for freshman power forward Molly Ward and junior small forward Paige Bolick — and they made the most of their opportunities. In 16 minutes of playing time, Ward collected four rebounds and four points, while Bolick scored five points and cleaned the boards for three rebounds while poaching two steals in her 15 minutes of cumulative court appearances.
The Cougars were led by Keykey Miller’s 13 points and six rebounds. Other notable individual performances included forward Kacey Payne’s five rebounds, Sydney Sharpe’s eight points, and Nikki Hagy coming off the bench to contribute five rebounds and six points.
Alexander Central’s record falls to 2-4 overall, 1-1 in Northwestern Conference play.
Watauga will next face an opponent responsible for the Pioneers’ last loss, on November 28th at Wilkes Central. The Eagles from Moravian Falls will travel up the mountain on Wednesday, December 20th. The junior varsity girls will tip-off at 4:00 pm, with the JV boys, varsity women and varsity men to follow in succession.