By David Rogers. January 20, 2017. BOONE, NC — A punishing Watauga defense that only allowed St. Stephens to score two points in the second quarter almost wasn’t enough, but the Pioneer varsity women’s basketballers eventually prevailed over the Indians, 51-44, Friday night at Lentz Eggers Gym.
COVER IMAGE: Katherine Stapleton has nice follow-through in getting this bucket in the first quarter.
SLIDESHOW at bottom.
The Pioneers’ junior guard Madie Darner pumped in 9 of her 11 points in the second period, almost half of her team’s 17-point scoring barrage in the second stanza. That offensive performance perfectly complemented the stingy defense, allowing Watauga to break open a tight early contest and earn a 12-point, 28-16 advantage at intermission.
But St. Stephens refused to let the game get away from them. Even though the Indians trailed by nine points with just four minutes remaining, their persistent pressure put the Pioneers in a late tailspin and suddenly the Northwestern Conference matchup was knotted, 41-41, with just 1:42 to go.
Fortunately for the Pioneers in front of a jam-packed crowd on “Middle School Basketball Night,” senior point guard Karson Hamrick helped steady the Pioneers’ ship — er, prairie schooner — by scoring 7 of her game-high 17 points in the 4th period.
“We lost our composure at the 4 minute mark,” first year Pioneer head coach Laura Barry admitted to Blowing Rock News afterwards, “but fortunately we found it again at the one-minute mark.”
Before collapsing in the second period, St. Stephens held a 14-11 lead at the end of the first period. The Indians’ comeback started immediately after the halftime break as they outscored Watauga 12-7 in the third period, then kept it coming early in the fourth. They were fueled in the final stanza by a big 3-pointer from Catherine McMahon, along with 6 points from Kylea Cooper and 5 points in the quarter from Paola Martinez.
Watauga’s Hamrick was joined in double figures by Darner’s 11, as well as junior guard Maddisen Robinson’s 10.
After losing four straight to start the season, the Lady Pioneers have won 11 of their last 13 games and now sport an 11-6 overall record, 6-2 in Northwestern Conference play.
Watauga now has a two-game stretch on the road, first at Fred T. Foard in Newton on Jan. 24, then at Freedom High School in Morganton on Jan. 27. In their early season home encounters against both of the upcoming opponents, the Lady Pioneers demolished Foard’s Tigers on Dec. 20th, 56-26, but lost to Freedom to open 2017 on Jan. 3rd, 54-41.
- 11 — Kylea Cooper
- 9 — Amiya Raidles
- 8 — Catherine McMahon
- 5 — Paola Martinez
- 4 — Katie Morgan
- 3 — Abbey Pyatte
- 3 — Tori Tomlinson
- 17 — Karson Hamrick
- 11 — Madie Darner
- 10 — Maddisen Robinson
- 5 — Olivia Williamson
- 3 — Alden McClure
- 2 — Brooke Byrd
- 2 — Katherine Stapleton
- 1 — Rebekah Farthing