Watauga boys' capture tourney championship
Last modified: Nov. 27
Watauga (3-0) won its second straight Ashe tournament. The Pioneers outscored Cloudland 27-18 in the second half to win the tournament.
Watauga won its 27th straight game dating back to last season.
“It's an honor,” Pioneers coach Jerry Moretz said. “This year, I thought the teams were a lot more competitive, and I don't mean that in a bad way. They pushed us.”
Watauga had to play without point guard T.J. Poulos, who sprained his ankle the previous night against Hampton (Tenn.) in the first round of the tournament.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Aaron Dobbins scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in the championship game. Utah Jones added 11 points and Matt Tyndall scored six points. Both were named to the All-Tournament team.
Cloudland stayed close to the Pioneers by making five 3-pointers. Logan Russell made three of them and scored 13 points. Zac Benfield added nine points for the Highlanders.
“You've got to hand it to Cloudland,” Moretz said. “They know what their strengths are in shooting the three, and it gave us fits.”
The victory came on the heels of a 60-42 victory over Hampton, another 1-A team from eastern Tennessee.
It took Watauga until the third quarter of that game to finally pull away from the Bulldogs. Watauga faced a similar situation Saturday against Cloudland.
Watauga led 20-18 at halftime, but outscored the Highlanders 12-3 in the third quarter. Watauga led 26-21 before closing out the third with a 6-0 run capped by two Dobbins foul shots with 15.8 seconds left in the quarter.
The Pioneers opened the fourth quarter with four points to complete a 10-0 run and take a 36-21 lead. Cloudland never got closer than eight points the rest of the game.
Watauga made 16-of-21 foul shots, compared to 7-of-15 free throw shooting for Cloudland.
“We had a physical game (Friday) and I told the guys coming in it's going to be tough,” Moretz said. “They're going to come out and bump you and want to see what they can get away with, and you're going to have to rise the occasion and play through it.”