WEST JEFFERSON — Down one in overtime with a title on the line, Ashe County needed a big play.
And when Ashe County has needed a big play this season, Hallie Treva has needed the ball.
Treva connected on a tough turnaround jumper in the lane with 1:22 left to play in overtime to give her Huskies the lead for good Tuesday night as Ashe survived the West Wilkes Blackhawks 52-47 in the regular-season finale for both squads.
Coming into Tuesday’s matchup the race for the top spot in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference was muddled, with four teams — including the Huskies and the ’Hawks — tied atop the standings.
But the stakes in West Jefferson were clear, and after Ashe’s thrilling senior night win the Huskies were propelled to the top spot in the Mountain Valley tourney, which started Thursday, and the Blackhawks dropped to the four seed.
Treva led the home team with 20 points and scored six in overtime. She started hot, scoring 13 in the first half, but cooled down considerably once West’s Jamesyn Bell started guarding her in the ’Hawks’ man-to-man defense.
“Jamesyn did a great job on her,” said West Wilkes Head Coach Allie Greene, who pointed out Treva was held scoreless in the third and notched only a single point in the fourth. “But we did not start off well defensively. We didn’t rotate well, and they made us pay. And when we did start to play well on that end, we gave away too many offensive rebounds and they connected on second or third chances.”
Ashe broke out to a 19-12 lead after the opening period, but the Blackhawks battled back in the second to take a one-point advantage, at 28-27, into the intermission. The three-ball helped, as Bell, Kacey Triplett and Parker Childress all connected on treys during a 16-8 run.
And the defense came alive in the third, as the Blackhawks held the Huskies to a mere four points in that frame.
But the Huskies, who finished the season 17-5 overall and 11-3 in conference play, charged back in the fourth. Treva was held in check but Kenadie Hudler, who finished the night with 12 points, tallied six in the final eight minutes.
The Huskies actually held a late lead but a free throw from West’s Carson Ledford tied the game up at 44-all with 45 seconds left in regulation, forcing overtime.
Another free throw from Bell started overtime, putting the ’Hawks up one. Poor execution offensively, however, hurt the ’Hawks after that, according to Greene.
“We really didn’t have to score after we got the lead, and we took some shots we really didn’t need,” said Greene. “We needed to run time off the clock, but instead we forced some shots and gave them too many chances on the other end.”
West Wilkes (17-5, 10-4) stayed close down the stretch, but the Huskies were perfect at the charity stripe in the extra period. A basket from Ledford with 30 seconds left made it 48-47, but four straight freebies by Treva and Hudler gave Ashe County its final five-point cushion.
Ledford paced West Wilkes with 20 points, and Bell chipped in nine. The Blackhawks hosted fifth-seeded North Wilkes Thursday night in round one of the conference tourney.
Ashe County, which captured a share of its first conference title in nine years, (when it had won three-straight from 2008-to-2011) also started the tournament last night, hosting No. 8 Elkin.
Blackhawks pull away from Ashe County, finish second in MVAC
West Wilkes fared better in the night’s boys contest, thanks to a huge night from senior point guard Jacob Brown. Brown exploded for 29 points to lead his team to a 59-49 victory over the Huskies on Ashe’s senior night.
The Huskies, playing without starter Austin Poe, grabbed a quick lead in the first quarter. But West, behind 10 points from Brown, rallied and tied the game up at 14-all heading into the second frame.
From there the Blackhawks slowly, methodically built their lead. Brown poured in eight in the third to lead the visitors to a six-point advantage heading into the final frame, and seven more in the fourth by the game’s leading scorer helped seal the deal.
Austin Triplette added 11 points off the bench, connected on two triples of his own, and Jackson Stinson added nine as the Blackhawks capped a successful regular season with marks of 15-7 overall and 11-3 in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference. That was good enough for the No. 3 seed in the conference tourney, and a home date with visiting East Wilkes, the No. 6 seed, in a first-round contest held last night.
Ashe County, which secured the tournament’s fifth seed with a record of 7-15 and 5-9, played No. 4 Elkin in round one. The semifinals and finals of both the girls’ and boys’ brackets will be played next week at North Wilkes.
Note: Ashe County won both JV contests Tuesday, but both were nail biters. The Huskies survived 46-45 in the girls’ matchup to win the MVAC championship and prevailed 51-49 in the boys’ tilt.