CHECKMATE: Castle leads Watauga past Ashe County, 74-63

CHECKMATE: Castle leads Watauga past Ashe County, 74-63
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Ethan Rothrock eyes basket.

By David Rogers. January 10, 2019. WEST JEFFERSON, NC – Tiger Woods once observed after a rough patch in his early career, “Winning solves everything.” In West Jefferson, visiting Watauga brushed off a disappointing collapse on Tuesday to survive Ashe County’s second half rally on Thursday, finishing off the Huskies, 74-63.

COVER IMAGE: Anderson Castle (10) looks for cross-court pass. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.

The Pioneers led by 12 at the half, 49-37, but the Huskies narrowed the deficit to just four (59-55) by the end of the third quarter and momentum seemed to be on the hosts’ side.

Jaiden Bond for a reverse layup.

After the game, Watauga head coach Rob Sanders acknowledged that with the game seemed to be again slipping away, but recalled how senior point guard Zach West took command in a timeout huddle to restore energy into his teammates’ play.

“’Learn from McDowell’,” Sanders quoted West as repeating in the huddle. His message was to remind his teammates of their Tuesday night collapse — urging them not to repeat it.

With 14 of 16 shooting from the charity stripe and two Pioneers with more than 20 points of offensive production. Sophomore forward Blane St. Clair had his usual high octane performance with 23 points, but it was junior guard Anderson Castle that tied Ashe County’s Alec Roland for game-high scoring honors, with 24.

Zach West battles past Husky defender.

Three Pioneers were perfect from the free throw line, including St. Clair (7-of-7), West (3-of-3), and sophomore forward Ben Ricker (2-of-2). On the other hand, Ashe County shot less than 50% from the foul line, 8-of-20.

The Pioneers return to the road on Friday at Hickory-St. Stephens to resume Northwestern Conference play.

SCORING

Watauga

  • 24 – Anderson Castle
  • 23 – Blane St. Clair
  • 9 – Zach West
  • 6 – Jaiden Bond
  • 5 – Ethan Rothrock
  • 5 – Ben Ricker
  • 2 – Jonah Martin

Ashe County

  • 24 –
    Blane St. Clair in left-handed layup.

    Alec Roland

  • 18 – Austin Poe
  • 6 – Colby Greer
  • 5 – Nate Lee
  • 4 – Noah Vannoy
  • 2 – Briann Zheng
  • 2 – Blake Lewis
  • 2 – Dylan Calhoun

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