By David Rogers. January 13, 2020. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Deafening. That’s the only way to describe it. You would have thought that Blowing Rock 7th-grader Anabelle Stewart’s simple layup from underneath the basket was a game winning buzzer beater, but it occurred midway through the 4th quarter in what was pretty much a blowout win by the Rockets.
COVER IMAGE: Annabelle Stewart (3) goes up for two points in the 4th quarter against Green Valley. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
But the diminutive guard’s bucket was just one of the underlying stories in Blowing Rock’s 37-10 win. That the Rockets would win this game was all but a foregone conclusion. At 11-2, Blowing Rock is one of the top three teams in the Watauga middle school league, if not the best of the bunch. And their two losses came with arguably the County’s top girls player sidelined with an injury.
Green Valley is game, to be sure, and not a quitter among them. But they are 0-13, with a young team. It is a rebuilding year.
Rockets head coach Martha Trimble was well aware of what would probably prove to be a mismatch — and she showed mercy, just as she has done in other lopsided matchups this year. For the entire first quarter and part of the second period, and then again at the start of the second half, Trimble put her reserves in starting roles. Even when she started to insert her frontliners, she phased them in, not putting all on the court all at once.
While the reserves held their own, they still trailed at the end of the first stanza, 4-0, that was sloppily played by both sides. But, as expected, once Blowing Rock’s regular starters began to appear on the hardwoods, things became lopsided.
A smaller reserve who is more often found riding the Rockets’ bench, Stewart is beloved by her teammates and known by many of their parents as an enthusiastic “fighter” when it comes to playing basketball. On this night, when she was on the court it appeared that the team’s single most important objective was to get the ball to her, in space, with an opportunity to shoot.
And that they did — and she did. Her first opportunity under the basket was a bit off the mark and the ball clanged off the rim. Her second chance, though, was a winner and it brought the Blowing Rock bench and crowd to their feet.
Blowing Rock’s second quarter surge was powered by their dynamic duo of Katie Durham (10 of her game-high 13 points were in the second quarter) and Kate Sears (6 of her 9 total points were just before intermission).
While Durham and Sears each had three points after halftime, Blowing Rock’s firepower came from less likely sources. For the game, E.T. Tilley matched Sears’ output with 9 points, including a 4th quarter shot from beyond the three-point arc. Donnah Whitehead also added a “trey” in the final period, while Mattie Durham got in the 4th quarter action with a bucket.
Next up for the Rockets is Parkway, on Thursday. The Rockets went on the road back on December 5th and defeated Parkway, 37-18, but through Monday’s games they have put together an 8-5 record in league play. That is good enough for 4th place in the County standings. Parkway’s girls were dumped by 3rd place Hardin Park on Monday, 39-22.
- BR – Katie Durham (13)
- BR – Kate Sears (9)
- BR – E.T. Tilley (9)
- GV – Grace T. (4)
- BR – Donnah Whitehead (3)
- BR – Annabelle Stewart (2)
- BR – Mattie Durham (2)
- GV – Roxan M. (2)
- GV – Addlynn H. (2_
- GV – Larson B. (2)
ALL WATAUGA MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS SCORES
- Hardin Park 39, Parkway 22
- Mabel 31, Bethel 12
- Blowing Rock 37, Green Valley 10
- Cove Creek 37, Valle Crucis 9