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Blowing Rock girls run by Mabel, 34-12

Blowing Rock basketball coach Todd Hartley has a teaching moment during the game, on the bench. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

By David Rogers. November 7, 2019. ZIONVILLE, NC — If any moment during Thursday’s 34-12 girls basketball win over Mabel defined what the 2019 edition of the Blowing Rock Rockets is about, it happened with just four seconds remaining on the game clock.

COVER IMAGE: Kate Sears (25) dribbles baseline. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News


E.T. Tilley (4) dribbles around a “pick” by Kate Sears (25). (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

A diminutive 6th grader playing alongside 7th and 8th graders, Savannah Duvall is a reserve on the team, not quite ready to be a front-line starter with a major role. But with four seconds left on the game clock and her black-clad Rockets with a healthy lead, young Duvall found herself on the court floor, near the top of the offensive key. Whether by a teammate on or off the court, or one of the coaches, someone whispered, “Get the ball to Savannah!”

Blowing Rock’s Katie Durham (15) spots an open teammate. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

They did — and she promptly whirled and launched a…well, a rocket…toward the basket. The ball banked off the backboard, whistled cleanly through the net, and Ms. Duval had scored the first points of her middle school basketball career.

Her teammates mobbed her at the final buzzer as if she had just hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees in the (baseball) World Series.

E.T. Tilley (4) with a fast break opportunity after a steal.

Duval didn’t earn high-scoring honors but, at Blowing Rock, basketball is about the team’s accomplishments and every player’s contributions toward the team’s success are celebrated by all of her teammates.

Kate Sears (25) was off like a rocket from the get-go. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

This was a game in which the score could have been significantly more lopsided, but head coach Todd Hartley instead used it as an opportunity to give all or nearly all of his roster a chance to play in the game. Even though his “stars” sat on the bench for large portions of the game, they still were among the high producers. Katie Durham scored nine points, while 7th grade teammate Kate Sears maneuvered her way around, over and through the Mustang defenders for eight points, all in the first half. 6th grader Maddie Durham added seven, with five of those points coming in the second half.

With the win, Blowing Rock remains in an undefeated tie for first place in the countywide standings with Hardin Park and Cove Creek. All three schools are 2-0.


  • Cove Creek 35, Parkway 20
  • Hardin Park 35, Valle Crucis 22
  • Bethel 27, Green Valley 13


  • T1 – Blowing Rock 2-0
  • T1 – Hardin Park 2-0
  • T1 – Cove Creek 2-0
  • T4 – Parkway 1-1
  • T4 – Bethel 1-1
  • T6 – Green Valley 0-2
  • T6 – Mabel 0-2
  • T6 – Valle Crucis 0-2


Blowing Rock

  • Katie Durham – 9 points
  • Kate Sears – 8 points
  • Maddie Durham – 7 points
  • Olivia Winger – 4 points
  • Savannah Duvall – 2 points
  • E.T. Tilley – 2 points
  • D. Whitehead – 2 points


  • Julie Ward – 6 points
  • Lindsey Sturgill – 3 points
  • Haley Lemons – 2 points
  • Leyla DeCuesta – 1 point
  • Faith Dollars – 1 point

SLIDESHOW By David Rogers for Blowing Rock News


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