By David Rogers. January 11, 2019. HICKORY, NC — With a 5-point outburst in the second quarter, Watauga guard Cailey Haas recorded a game-high 12 points, but it was a tenacious defensive effort by the entire Watauga team that throttled down St. Stephens. The Pioneers cruised to a convincing, 48-18 win over the Indians.
COVER IMAGE: Cailey Haas (2) hustles after a loose ball vs. St. Stephens. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
There was never a need for the Pioneers to circle the wagons or even think about surrendering in this game as they held a 16-4 lead after the first quarter and 27-8 advantage over the Indians by intermission. Then the St. Stephens five managed only another 10 points for the entire second half.
Coming, as it did, as the third game in four days for the Pioneers — including back to back games on Thursday and Friday — Watauga’s performance against St Stephens spoke as much about the coaching staff’s substitution management as it did about the team’s roster depth. While the starters could very well have been leg-weary after a tough loss to McDowell on Tuesday and a rivalry win over Ashe County on Thursday, the return of reserves Paige Bolick and Libby Warren — as well as more playing time for sophomore power forward Chelsi Hodges — gave plenty of opportunities for resting the front-liners.
“I’m happy to have a good road win,” Watauga head coach Laura Barry observed to Blowing Rock News after the game. “I thought we struggled to be consistent tonight and struggled to execute on offense compared to last night (at Ashe County). We were much more solid last night.
“It was plenty good enough to win,” Barry added, “which is exciting, but we need to get better at some of the little things that will help us against the top teams in our league.
“A win for the third game of this week’s road trip is a credit to our depth,” the now veteran head coach continued. “We were able to save some legs with our substitutions. Early in the week not having Paige (Bolick) and Taylor (Lipford)…having them back is big. Plus, having our bigs (Molly Ward and Chelsi Hodges) play well and perform has really helped us this week.”
Barry singled out both Haas and Ward for high praise for their performances against the Indians.
“Cailey Hass played exceptionally hard both yesterday and today,” noted Barry of the senior guard, who spent a lot Thursday night’s game at Ashe County fighting for the ball on the floor. “I think she still led us in dives tonight, but this wasn’t as much of an ‘on the floor’ type of game. She didn’t take a possession off, which I am proud of.
“Molly Ward is coming along, too,” Barry said of her junior center. “She is doing a better job of attacking the boards and establishing a presence inside, which is exciting to see.
Next week, the Pioneers (7-5 overall, 3-1 in Northwestern Conference) will face both of their chief league rivals in hosting Hickory ( 8-3, 3-1) at Lentz Eggers Gym on Tuesday, then will travel to Morganton to face Freedom (13-1, 4-0).
- 12 – Cailey Haas
- 9 – Rebekah Farthing
- 8 – Brelyn Sturgill
- 6 – Brooke Byrd
- 4 – Chelsi Hodges
- 3 – Taylor Lipford
- 2 –
- 2- Paige Bolick
- 2 – Libby Warren
- 4 – Alaysha McHenry
- 4 – Elizabeth Sumpter
- 4 – Kaylee McGlamery
- 4 – Adri Tomlinson
- 1 – Lazariah Winkler
- 1 – Katelyn McGlamery