To open the games on Friday, a girls’ game was held between Watauga and Avery. The Vikings from Avery earned the first bid of the tournament into the finals with an impressive 65-44 victory over the Pioneers from Watauga.
The Huskies’ girls were next to take the court with the third game of the evening on Friday. The Huskies were hosting the Cloudland Highlanders and the Lady Huskies were able to advance to the finals to face the Avery Vikings following a tough 53-48 victory over the Landers.
The Huskies were led with a well-rounded team effort on offense and defense. An impressive defensive front by the Huskies created a lot of turnovers by the Landers. On the offensive end, freshman Alexis Greene led the Huskies’ charge with eight points, as Jessica Walker and Brittany Lyalls each contributed six points.
The Huskies jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with three baskets by Jessica Walker in the opening minutes of the game. Cloudland was able to score two buckets before the conclusion of the quarter, and Ashe led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter before hitting a stride in the second quarter. The stride by the Huskies extended their lead to nine points at the halftime break after they scored thirteen points in the second quarter to take a 21-12 lead.
Coming out of the halftime intermission, Ashe exploded in the third quarter both offensively and defensively. On the defensive half of the court, Ashe presented themselves as a strong unit in the third quarter and held the Landers to only four points during the seven-minute period. Offensively, the Huskies lit up with another double-digit quarter as they rolled up twelve points during the period to lead 33-16 heading into the fourth and final quarter.
In the final seven minutes of the game, the Cloudland Highlanders made one last run at the Huskies, but the Huskies persevered to maintain their lead and eventually claim the 41-28 victory to advance to the finals.
With the Championship Game being set as the Huskies of Ashe verses the Vikings from Avery and the third place game featuring the Highlanders of Cloudland verses the Watauga Pioneers.
The third place game was first in the series for the women, and the fans at Ashe County High School saw an exciting game. Watauga was able to pull away in the closing minutes to claim third place in the tournament with a 30-24 final score.
The second and final women’s game of the day was the Championship Game that featured the home Huskies verses the visiting Avery Vikings. Women athletics at Ashe, has historically had fierce match-ups with Avery in multiple sports. The JV Girls basketball was no exception during the tournament as the game was an intense, back-and-forth battle for the entire game and led to a tied score with only minutes remaining in the game.
The game opened up with both teams playing solid defense in the first quarter and evenly matched offenses created a 10-10 tie at the end of the first quarter. The teams continued to battle during the second quarter and Ashe took advantage of a possession in the closing minutes of the quarter to take a 20-17 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was a repeat of the first two with both teams continually struggling to gain a lead. With the lead bouncing from team to team, Ashe once again was able to pull ahead late in the quarter and maintained their three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 28-25.
With just over four minutes remaining in the game, the score was tied at 28-28 when Cara Church electrified the crowd and her team with five unanswered points to gain a small lead. Following the play, Husky’ fans were on their feet cheering on the home town team and momentum had swung in the direction of Ashe for the closing minutes of the game. Ashe was able to keep the Vikings from scoring and only allowed four points in the final four minutes of the game, as the Huskies converted free throw opportunities to seal the victory with a score of 43-32 to award the Huskies with the Championship Title of the 2007 Miller Insurance/ Dr Pepper JV Invitational Tournament.
At the conclusion of the game, the award winners for the tournament was announced and Ashe had two players to receive All-Tournament honors with Brittany Lyalls and Cara Church being named members of the All-Tournament team. After the announcement of the All-Tournament team, the Tournament MVP was announced. Jessica Walker, a sophomore team leader for the Huskies was named the Tournament MVP.
In the men’s division of the tournament, the action started off Friday with the Vikings from South Iredell facing the Pioneers from Watauga in the first game, then the home town Huskies faced the Cloudland Highlanders in the second game. To open up the tournament, the Pioneers delivered a tough blow to the Vikings with a tough 73-34 final score. The Huskies and Highlanders took the court next for the second and final men’s game of the evening.
The second men’s game of the day on Friday featured the Huskies against the Cloudland Highlanders. Ashe was able to narrowly escape the Landers with good play down the stretch to claim the 53-48 victory to advance to the championship game.
The Huskies experienced a solid performance from the returning sophomore Sam Price, but was led in offense by freshman starter, Bryson Payne. Payne delivered a large blow against the Landers with an impressive fifteen points in his first ever High School game. Early in the game, basketball by Price and Payne assisted the Huskies to an early 9-0 lead in the first quarter. The Huskies continued their momentum and increased their lead to 16-5 at the end of the first quarter. Despite the early deficit, Cloudland found their footing in the second quarter and battled back and cut the Huskies’ lead to only five points. However, a basket in the closing minutes of the first half gave the Huskies a seven-point lead, which they carried into halftime and Ashe led 24-17.
With only one half remaining to play, the Highlanders continued to battle back with the Huskies. In the third quarter, Cloudland was able to chip away at the Huskies’ lead throughout the entire quarter and at the concluding horn for the third quarter, the Landers stood a minute four points behind the Huskies, 38-34, heading into the fourth quarter.
In the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Landers were able to cut the Huskies’ lead to only two points, but the Huskies were able to pull away down the stretch with good time management and clutch free throws to earn a 53-48 final victory over Cloudland to advance to the Championship Game to face the Watauga Pioneers.
In the Saturday games, the Third Place Game kicked off the guys games with South Iredell facing Cloudland. Cloudland rebounded from the close loss to Ashe with an impressive performance on Saturday evening. Cloudland jumped out to an early lead and continued to increase their lead as they built a 33-point lead throughout the game on their way to a 62-29 victory over the Vikings from South Iredell.
In the second guys game of the evening, the Championship Game, the Huskies took on the Watauga Pioneers. Just like the women’s championship, both teams have a history of being competitive games. The Ashe-Watauga match-up in the Championship Game proved to be exciting for not only the players, but for every fan in the gymnasium as well.
The game started out fast with both teams scoring in the first minute, Ashe’s points coming off of a three pointer by Payne. Watauga then gradually gained a small lead over Ashe, but two baskets by Ashe in the final minute of the first quarter cut the Pioneers’ lead to 12-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The game progressed into the second quarter with each team still battling back and forth, but Watauga was able to pull away slightly and gained an eleven-point lead. In the closing minute of the first half, Ashe was on the bad side of a very unusual back-to-back Player Control Offensive fouls and shortly following the second foul, an official penalized Coach Grubb for the Huskies with a technical foul, and then instantly, the same official slapped a second technical on Coach Grubb to suspend him as coach for the game. Following the four free throws by Watauga for the double technical, and without a single made free throw, the game continued with Watauga leading 24-14. The Huskies were fired up with the recent events and Payne was able to get a lane to the basket and made a lay-up with a foul on the play. With the missed free throw by Payne, Price grabbed the rebound and was fouled on his shot. A made free throw by Price cut the Pioneers’ lead to only eight points heading into halftime, 25-17.
Following an exciting first half, the third quarter started with Ashe scoring five unanswered points to cut Watauga’s lead to 25-22. However, Watauga mounted a seven-point run to go ahead by twelve points to end the third quarter, 40-28.
During the fourth quarter, Ashe was determined to fight their way back into the game and with solid defense held the Pioneers to only two points for the first three minutes of the quarter and Ashe was able to cut the game within four points but Watauga would score on key possessions down the stretch to secure the 51-44 victory over Ashe for the 2007 Miller Insurance/ Dr Pepper JV Invitational Tournament Championship Title.
For the second game in a row, Bryson Payne led the Huskies with 17 points, and Sam Price also had another double-digit game with ten points. Darren Greene also had an impressive performance with nine points for the Huskies. Due to the loss, Ashe was named as the 2007 Miller Insurance/ Dr Pepper JV Invitational Tournament Runner-Ups. Ashe had two players named to the All-Tournament team with Sam Price, who averaged 12.5 points per game, and Bryson Payne who averaged 17 points per game throughout the two-day tournament.
With the JV pre-season play completed; the season kicks off this Friday with a four-game set at Avery High School. The JV Girls start the action at 4 p.m., with JV Boys following at roughly 5:15 p.m. Varsity Girls will follow JV Boys at approximately 6:30 p.m., then Varsity Boys will conclude the games with the night cap at roughly 8 p.m. Look for results in Tuesday’s paper. However, the Varsity Boys still have one more scrimmage scheduled prior to Friday’s tip-off. The Huskies will host the Oak Hill Warriors Red team this evening in a pre-season scrimmage with the action scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at Ashe County High School.