A fast and furious first quarter proved the difference Tuesday evening in Hays, as Ashe County defeated North Wilkes 65-46.
The Huskies put 27 points on the board in the first eight minutes of the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference matchup, paced by a stellar early performance by Hallie Treva.
Treva scored 10 points in the first, hitting two of the four triples the Huskies made in the frame (Kenadie Hudler and Audrey Craven connected on the other two). Treva led a contingent of six Huskies who scored at least one field goal in the period, and by the time the first buzzer sounded the score was 27-9.
“We tried a defense that simply didn’t work against them early on. They made shots against us…it was just that simple,” said North Wilkes Head Coach Steven Phillips. “We didn’t get back down the floor well in the first, and we didn’t find their shooters, and they made us pay.”
Treva scored a game-high 21 points Tuesday, and Jordan Jones chipped in 13 for the Huskies as Ashe improved to 13-5 and 7-3. But after a high-scoring first the Vikings’ defense adjusted, and stayed at least within the same 18-point margin the Huskies generated in the opening frame.
“After the first, I thought we played pretty well together,” said Phillips. “I know we played hard, right up until the final buzzer. We got to the line, and we did what we had to do defensively. Unfortunately, it was just too big a hole to dig ourselves out of.”
McKenzie Johnson paced the Vikings (10-10, 2-8) with 11 points in only her second game back from an injury that cost her most of the first half of the MVAC schedule. Her teammate Liz Martin also played in her second game back from a lengthy, injury-related absence and Martin also performed well, scoring four points in the loss.
“They both looked a lot more confident tonight than they did in their first game back (in a loss Friday to Alleghany),” said Phillips. “McKenzie attacked the basket and got to the free-throw line eight times, which is one of her strengths.
“And Liz is playing with the same reckless energy she’s known for,” continued Phillips. “She really got after it. She drew one charge, and she should have had another. We always appreciate how hard she plays.”
Overall, despite the final score, Phillips said he saw “a lot of good things tonight.”
Phillips continued, “We forced turnovers, we got to the line 31 times…the season is not over for us. I think we’re close to turning this thing around. Obviously, I just hope we’re able to do that before the conference tournament starts.”
North Wilkes next faces Elkin tonight in Hays. The Vikings won the first meeting between the two teams 45-35. The Huskies will travel to East Wilkes, in a rematch of a game from Jan. 20 that Ashe County won 52-24.
Tuesday night was a special Pink-Out game in Hays, as the two squads came together to raise awareness for breast cancer in conjunction with the Play4Kay Initiative. A halftime shootout during both the varsity girls’ and boys’ games was used to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
The JV affair earlier in the afternoon also went to the visitors, as Ashe prevailed 36-28. The Vikings held the lead by two points heading into the fourth quarter, but the Huskies outscored the home team 17-7 in the final frame.
Skyler Vannoy led the Huskies with nine points and Morgan Phipps added seven, with all of her points coming in the decisive fourth. Brook Settle led all scorers with 16 points for North Wilkes (13-7, 5-5) and Mary Cothren chipped in nine.