Huskies end losing skid
Last modified: Jan. 10
Not all rivals are evenly matched: Just ask the Ashe County Huskies how they've treated Alleghany High in recent years.
Since Alleghany High joined the Mountain Valley Conference in 2009, the Ashe County Huskies have dominated the cross border rivalry, only once dropping a game against its neighbors to the east.
The rivalry has, however, seen its share of back-and-forth moments that has left fans sitting on the edge of their seats.
Such was the case in the latest renewal of this hardwood classic on Wednesday, Jan. 2, in Sparta.
For the first 16 minutes of action, Alleghany tested and vetted the Huskies before Ashe finally pulled away from the Trojans in the second half for the 56-43 win.
The Trojans came out looking like a team on a mission, taking a 14-8 lead after the first quarter of play that was capped off with a three-point basket by Tyler Hock.
Junior Jonathan Cox jump started the Huskies early on, nailing a 3-pointer and banking home a layup in the first eight minutes.
Ashe County would slow down the Trojans in the second quarter, trimming the lead to just three points before intermission.
A turn-around jump shot by Cullen Ashley and a trio of free throws by Jordan Spell and Alex Laws gave the Huskies so much needed momentum heading into the second half.
In the third quarter, Ashe County reasserted the dominance it has enjoyed throughout this rivalry, as the Huskies took a three-point lead of its own into the fourth quarter.
Ashe County saw its first lead of the game since the first quarter when a hook shot by Eli Gambill gave the Huskies a 27-25 advantage.
The Huskies lead soon grew to five when Anderson Moore scooped up a mishandled Trojans' pass and took it the rim for an easy layup, before Alleghany added two layups to its tally to close out the quarter.
In the final eight minutes of play, it was all Ashe County.
Ashe County's meager lead grew to six at the 6:30 mark when Gambill capped off an old fashioned “And One” play from the free throw line.
The burst of momentum generated by easy baskets propelled Ashe County to a 10-2 run as the Huskies took over the game.
Ashe County extended the lead to double digits off a 3-pointer by Spell, breaking the Trojans' backs as they tried to muster a late comeback.
Needing to foul with less than two minutes to play in hopes that Ashe County would be frozen out at the free throw line, Alleghany failed to execute their come from behind strategy and watched hopelessly as the Huskies put the game out of reach.
The Huskies good fortunes, however, would be short lived as Ashe County lost to the conference's top ranked team, the Elkin Elks, 59-48 on Friday, Jan. 4.
Huskies hold off Vikings
Ashe County withstood a strong second half performance by the North Wilkes Vikings Tuesday in West Jefferson to escape with a 56-48 win.
Ashe came out firing, as Jordan Spell's 3-pointer and back-to-back baskets by Matthew Lee gave the Huskies an early 7-0 advantage.
Ashe County's lead grew to nine at the end of the first quarter after Spell knocked down a pair of free-throws and a layup to make the score 17-8.
The Huskies carried the offensive spark into the second quarter, going on a 12-3 run to close out the half with a 36-20 lead.
Despite the double-digit lead, Ashe County nearly suffered a meltdown in the second half and allowed the Vikings to cling to life and crawl back into the game.
North Wilkes' Jordan Church was a man on a mission, scoring 13 points in the third quarter along to pull the Vikings within five points heading into the fourth quarter.
There was no love loss between the two teams, as the bitter rivals fought for the lead in the closing minutes.
The game, which featured more than 40 combined fouls, was ultimately decided at the charity stripe as the Huskies simply put the game out of reach.
North Wilkes had a chance to tie the game about midway through the fourth quarter, but couldn't connect at the back end of a trip at the free-throw line.
With the win, Ashe County improved to 3-9 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
The Huskies returned to action Wednesday against the Watauga Pioneers in West Jefferson.
Results were unavailable at presstime.