CoCo Clay scored 25 points and the Huskies held on for a 56-55 win over West Wilkes to cap off an outright conference championship and an undefeated Mountain Valley Conference season.
Ashe built a double-digit lead, but the Blackhawks battled back and had a chance to win it with a last-second shot that bounced around the rim but dropped harmlessly to the floor.
“To be honest I wasn’t even paying attention to the shot. I was worried about our back side rebounding,” said Ashe Head Coach Daniel Waln. “That was one point of emphasis we preached about in the timeout before was that most teams get beat off of the second shot, not the first. I was more concerned about being in position to rebound.”
This was the second straight year Ashe took home the conference title, but this time, the Huskies achieved perfection, even with a team made up mostly of freshman, something Waln and assistant coach Nathan Colvard had not been faced with before.
“Last year’s team being an older group allowed for us to add in more stuff at a quicker pace,” Coach Waln said. “This year, the learning curve was so big for these kids, they had to learn how to come in and go to work every single time they came into that gym.”
Waln added high praise for the team’s lone sophomore, Stanton Moore.
“Stanton did a great job of being a leader and demanding nothing short of a championship,” said Waln.
The Huskies finished the year 19-3 and 13-0 in the MVAC with one game not being played due to bad weather.
Down the stretch, Coach Waln said it was not that hard to keep his kids focused.
“These kids were determined to be perfect. They have all been a part of big games before so for them, it was just another game,” said Waln.
When asked who would win a game between this year’s JV team and last year’s JV team, Waln said he wasn’t sure, but he could guarantee that both teams would play with a lot of heart and passion and it would be a great game to watch.
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @NathanHam87