By David Rogers. November 22, 2016. BOONE, NC — Down by 12 late in the second quarter, Watauga’s women’s basketball varsity battled back to take a tenuous, 41-40 lead with 2:47 left to play in the game before Alexander Central finally prevailed, 48-46.
Cougars forward Abby Cook posted game-high 23 points, scoring almost half of the Alexander Central total, as well as pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Watauga senior Alden McClure netted a team-high 10 points, while fellow senior Katherine Stapleton came off the bench to clean the boards for 7 rebounds, 5 on the offensive side.
Although they at times looked confident and sharp in producing scoring opportunities with an almost interchangeable 10 players seeing court time — and all but one seeing at least 12 minutes of action — new head coach Laura Barry’s Pioneers had difficulty finding the bottom of the net. But their early season ability to whip the ball around the court to find the open (wo)man, as well as the roster depth reflected in the seamless integration of freshmen Brooke Byrd and Rebekah Farthing, as well as sophomore Cailey Haas into the offensive and defensive schemes gives Pioneer fans hope for a strong season once the early non-conference schedule is under their belts.
Byrd shot 50% from the floor (3-6) in her reserve role and provided a measure of spark in the Pioneers’ second half comeback. Senior guard Karson Hamrick had a difficult night from the field, including going 0-3 from behind the three-point arc, but in driving to the basket she prompted Cougar fouls and was 3-4 from the charity stripe.
As a team, the Pioneers left 10 points on the table by shooting only 6-of-16 from the foul line in the first half, but improved to 5-of-7 in the second half to help in the comeback.
(Courtesy of Jonathan Watts of Alexander Central)