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Avery "Silent Night" lifts Vikings past Ashe

Originally published: Dec. 18
Last modified: Dec. 18

Jamie Shell

NEWLAND — Many things seemed out of sorts at Avery’s Viking Gym on Tuesday.

Fans of the home school were dressed in costume as part of the school’s “Silent Night” campaign, a tradition started at Taylor University, the alma mater of Avery men’s varsity basketball head coach Scott Polsgrove. It’s where fans are silent until the 10th point of the game is scored by the home team, at which point the fans erupt in applause as if the school was just named Greatest School in the History of the World.

The silence of the gym and subsequent eruption as Avery’s Jacob Waldroop sank a free throw for a 10th point appeared to affect the visiting Ashe Huskies, which never seemed to gain its bearings nor stop the potent Vikings offense in an 85-36 loss to Avery.

Waldroop outscored the Huskies (2-7) by himself in the first period with nine points, as Ashe trailed 19-6 after one quarter.

Avery (7-4) used its depth to provide a potent weapon throughout the game. Avery football quarterback and reserve guard Tre Jackson found the outside stroke in the second quarter with four 3-pointers on four consecutive attempts in the quarter, and 14 points total in the quarter.

Ashe’s Devan Sheets scored seven of his nine points in the half during the same period, but the Huskies found themselves trailing 46-19 at halftime.

Things went from bad to worse for the Huskies early in the third quarter, as head coach Scott Grubb was assessed a technical foul in the midst of a 7-0 Avery scoring run for what he felt was a flagrant foul committed by a Vikings player.

The technical was the first one earned by Grubb since he took the reins as varsity boys basketball head coach.

“I wanted my team to see that I had their backs,” Grubb said. “I felt there was a flagrant foul committed by Avery on one of our players and that a technical foul should have been called. Nothing against that kid, because I understand emotions were high. But it was important for my team to see that no matter what the score, I hadn’t quit and I didn’t want them to quit.”

Ashe responded by fighting hard to the finish. Cullen Ashley scored all seven of his points in the contest in the second half, while Sheets, Corbin Winebarger and Bradley Lucas each chipped in with baskets in the half.

Avery’s 10 3-pointers in the game and Ashe turnovers proved too great an obstacle to overcome in the 49-point Vikings win.

Sheets paced the Huskies with 11 points, with nine points from Lucas and seven points from Ashley.

Four Avery players registered double-figures scoring, led by Wotell’s 15 points.

Despite having played a grueling double-overtime game just one night earlier against Mount Airy, Grubb would not use fatigue as an excuse for his team’s performance.

“I thought we started fine. It was 10-4, and as soon as the crowd erupted, it was like the whole atmosphere changed, and our kids just didn’t respond very well. I probably should have taken a timeout at that point,” Grubb said. “I don’t think last night had anything to do with our effort tonight, because Avery played last night, too. It’s a matter of us learning how to play in this time of loud, rowdy environment. Give Coach Polsgrove’s group all the credit. They made all the plays they needed to and knocked all their shots in. We were trying to stop them and at times we got a hand up, and their shot many times still went in. We could have done some things better, but Avery did everything just about perfectly tonight.”

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.