Ashe falls to archrival Watauga, prepares for conference action
Last modified: Dec. 6
For the first eight minutes of action against Watauga County Friday night, Ashe County struggled to score against a stifling Pioneers defense that clogged passing lanes and interrupted the Huskies offense before it had a chance to properly set up.
The Pioneers offense, however, looked as if they were in rhythm from the opening tip and leaped out to a commanding 13-0 lead on the way to a 55-40 victory in Boone.
Ashe County's lone field goal of the period came with just a few seconds remaining in the first when Eli Gambill forced home a bucket.
The Huskies (1-2) were also hampered by the loss of sharp shooters Anthony Federico and Jonathan Cox to injury.
Trailing 15-3 to open the second quarter, the Pioneers cranked up the pressure against the Huskies and forced poor decisions that led to transition baskets.
A Jordan Spell jump shot and layup by an elusive Sammy Bowers, who also added two free throws, were the only baskets for Ashe in the second quarter and Ashe trailed by 20 at the half.
Watauga exploded again in the second half, before Ashe crawled back in the game.
DeWayne Mackey, who led Watauga with 13 points, hit a layup to spark the Pioneers and baskets by Ben Howser and Allen Koppenhaver increased the lead to 28.
The Huskies, however, would pull themselves up off the ground and dust themselves off as they began to chisel away at Watauga's sizeable advantage.
Jordan Spell's long three-ball bounced high off the back iron before finally finding the nylon as the buzzer sounded, but the Huskies still trailed 45-25 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final few minutes of action, Ashe County finally broke through Watauga's defense and stopped the Pioneers' scoring surge.
Devan Sheets hit a free-throw and two three-pointers in the closing minutes of play to make things interesting down the stretch.
Cullen Ashley had a put-back to make the score 49-34 Watauga and Sheets scored the final Huskies' basket on a breakaway to cap off the highest scoring output by Ashe in the game.
Devan Sheets led Ashe with 12 points, Bowers had 8, Laws had added five points and Gambill rounded out Ashe County's leading scorers with four points.
Ashe returned to action Tuesday night in Moravian Falls as they renewed another rivalry against Wilkes Central High in this year's conference opener.
Results from this game were unavailable at press time.