By David Rogers. January 8, 2020. BOONE, NC — A sluggish start by Watauga’s Pioneers was overcome by a 25-14 second quarter Wednesday night at Lentz-Eggers Gym. The men’s basketball team went on to turn back a second half rally by visiting McDowell to win convincingly, 79-64.
COVER IMAGE: Bennett Ricker (14) dribbles baseline before finding an open Jackson Earnhardt underneath the basket in the second half. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
The Pioneers’ Jackson Earnhardt accounted for a game-high 22 points, while Anderson Castle was close behind with 20. Andrew Freeman and Jake Sears contributed 11 and nine points, respectively, to round out Watauga’s top scorers.
Castle also recorded a team-high nine rebounds, while James Privette cleared the boards for five rebounds, four of them on the offensive end. Freeman arguably had the most scoring line with 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.
From long-range, Sears shot 60% from beyond the 3-point arc (3-of-5), while Earnhardt was 4-of-9 (44.4%) and Castle was 3-of-8 (37.5%).
After the game, Watauga head coach Laura Barry admitted that early in the game the Pioneers deviated from the game plan for attacking the basket.
“We weren’t rebounding and we knew that was where McDowell was strong,” Barry told reporters. “We had to eat those minutes and I thought we did a good job of bouncing back.
“Anderson Castle took some threes and made them (in the second quarter), which is good,” Barry acknowledged, “but as a team, I thought we were setting for threes and not attacking the basket. I know we got blocked once and another time didn’t get a foul call, then (began) to shy away from that. We had to get back to that.
“I think our defense (created) some offense,” Barry added. “But we also started to get back in there (attacking the rim) and putting some pressure on their defense, which led to points.”
With the win, the Pioneers improve to 5-6 overall, 2-1 in the Northwestern Conference. Next up is a home tilt against St. Stephens (4-11 overall, 0-3 in NWC), which lost to McDowell, 90-76, on January 3rd and to Alexander Central, 70-44, on Tuesday (Jan. 7th).
- WHS – Jackson Earnhardt (22 points)
- WHS – Andersons Castle (20)
- MCD – Mason McDeters (18)
- MCD – Trent Lewis (18)
- MCD – Mikey Queen (13)
- WHS – Andrew Freeman (11)
- WHS – Jake Sears (9)
- WHS – Bennett Ricker (6)
- WHS – Jonah Martin (4)
- MCD – Zavian Brunchini (4)