COVER IMAGE: Watauga’s Brooke Byrd scored a team-high 12 points, but often found the lanes to the basket well filled by Mountain Heritage defenders.
Just one day after doubling up on Ashe County women’s basketball, 74-37, Watauga’s Lady Pioneers ran into a Mountain Heritage buzz saw. The visiting Cougars ran through, around, and beyond Watauga to record a convincing, 74-47 win inside Lentz Eggers Gym.
Perhaps the Watauga athletes had tired legs from running roughshod over the Ashe County Huskies the night before. Perhaps the Pioneers just had an off night. Perhaps this, perhaps that…but the Cougars looked like contenders for a late season run through the North Carolina 2A-level state tournament by season’s end.
Featuring a senior-laden squad (almost half – 5 – of the roster are seniors), head coach Susie Shelton’s Cougar charges were efficient on both ends of the court, using their athleticism to make court life difficult for the young Pioneers (8 of the 11-player roster are juniors, sophomores, or freshmen) — and on both ends of the arena.
Four Cougar players shot in double figures, led by sophomore point guard Hannah Tipton’s 22 points and followed by junior guard Hannah Ray (14), senior guard Presley Peterson (13), and sophomore guard Kennedy Wilson (12). Tipton, Ray and Wilson each poured in a trio of basketball missiles from beyond the three-point arc, accounting for 27 of the 36 Cougar points shots from long distance.
Watauga junior guard Brooke Byrd shot a team-high 12 points, half from behind the three-point line. Junior center Molly Ward managed eight hard-earned points inside and sophomore power forward Chelsi Hodges cleaned up underneath opportunities for seven points.
In a jam-packed basketball week (owing to snow-related rescheduling), Watauga will look to rebound in hosting Wilkes Central (4-3 on the season) on Thursday, 6:00 pm, at Lentz Eggers Gym. The Eagles won the first encounter Wilkesboro on Dec. 4th, 50-38. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 pm.
- Presley Peterson (1 foul), 13 points, including 9 in the third quarter
- Hannah Tipton (4 fouls), 22 points, three 3-pointers, 9 points in the 2nd qtr and 8 in the 3rd
- Victoria Burge (2 fouls), 3 points
- Hannah Ray (2 fouls), 14 points, including 11 in the first half, three 3-pointers
- Kennedy Wilson (3 fouls), 12 points, including three 3-pointers, 7 points in the 4th qtr.
- Haileigh Evers (no fouls), 1 point
- Kylie Robinson (3 fouls), 9 points, including 5 points in the first qtr.
- Brooke Byrd (1 foul), 12 points, two 3-pointers
- Cailey Haas (3 fouls), 3 points, all in the 3rd qtr.
- Brelyn Sturgill (3 fouls), 3 points
- Rebekah Farthing (3 fouls), 6 points
- Molly Ward (4 fouls), 8 points
- Paige Bolick (no fouls), 4 points, all in the second half
- Ava Williamson (1 foul), 1 point
- Taylor Lipford (1 foul), 3 points (a 3-pointer in the 2nd period)
- Chelsi Hodges (no fouls), 7 points