The West Wilkes varsity girls disproved a famous line from F. Scott Fitzgerald — “there are no second acts in American lives” — on Monday.
The Blackhawks got their second act in the second half and took advantage, posting a 57-46 win over Wilkes Central in Millers Creek that propelled them into first place in the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference.
West (3-0) outscored Central 20-6 in the pivotal third quarter, erasing a four-point halftime deficit against the Eagles (3-1). West junior forward Carson Ledford scored eight of her team-high 19 points in the third.
In the third, a 14-0 run in the span of about three minutes was pivotal for the Blackhawks, the only unbeaten girls team in the MVAC.
West’s Kendall Stanley connected from the left corner on a 3-pointer with five minutes left to reduce the Central lead to 27-25.
Ledford’s driving layup tied it at 27-all with four minutes left in the third. A short time later she drove three-quarters of the court and scored in the lane to spot West its first lead, 29-27. A Central turnover led to short basket in the lane by Ledford, making it 33-27 with 3:15 to play in the third.
Bell dished to Gracie Lambert for a trey from the top of the key for a 36-27 lead with 1:55 remaining in the third. Later, Bell fed Cheyenne Clonch for a jumper at the free-throw line that connected just before the buzzer for a 40-31 West lead going into the fourth.
In the final period, the West lead never dipped below six points, which was achieved when Central junior point guard Zoe Susi drained a 3-pointer on her club’s first possession of the quarter.
Susi canned a trio of 3-pointers for the Eagles in the second quarter. She hit one with 5:29 left in the half, made another off an assist from Makenna Freeman with 4:20 remaining and drilled the third after a Jacklyn Richardson feed with 2:40 left to boost the Eagle lead to 22-13.
Richardson also sank a 3-pointer with 3:50 before halftime to increase the Central lead to 17-11. All of the senior’s seven points came in the first half.
Ledford sank a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to reduce the Eagle lead to 25-20 at the break.
Susi paced the Eagles with a game-high 20 points. Freeman had six rebounds and Sarah Lowe made four steals.
It was West’s first test of the season after outscoring their opponents 122-55 in the opening two games.
Prior to Monday, Central had taken 11 of the last 13 meetings with West.
Cards clips Rams
East Wilkes moved into a third-place tie in the MVAC with a 29-26 win on Monday at Starmount.
“It was great to get a win,” said Matt Campbell, whose club improved to 2-2, matching the record of Ashe County. “It may not have been pretty but we ended up with a win. We struggled finishing around the basket and have to do a better job taking care of the basketball.”
East sophomore guard Briley Church made a steal with about 11 seconds left to preserve the win for the Cardinals. Church and Macie Bell each had three steals.
Freshman Kierston Johnson led East with 10 points and eight rebounds. Briley Church tallied five points and two assists while Killian Warren and Kaleigh Couch each added four points.
The Rams slipped to 1-2 with the setback in Boonville.
North dumps Ashe
North Wilkes defended its home turf in a 62-51 win against Ashe County on Monday.
“I was really proud of our team,” said North’s coach, Steven Phillips. “The team played hard and played together. We handled the ball much better, and rebounded better. Ashe is a very good team, so it took a great effort from our team.”
The Vikings led 30-21 at halftime but saw that lead shrink to four points after three quarters of play. North outscored the visitors 19-12 in the final period.
Phillips praised the play of his seniors, noting that McKenzie Johnson led the way with 20 points and four 3-pointers. Shelby Roal had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Makayla Cornelius had a trio of treys.
“It was a total team win, in which all nine players played significant minutes, and all contributed to the win,” Phillips added. He said Kate Brown had seven points and eight rebounds, and freshman Kyleigh Miller also had seven points.
North (1-2) won its first game of the season. Ashe’s mark evened at 2-2.
West pounds North
The Blackhawks routed North Wilkes on Saturday in Millers Creek, 69-38.
West has beaten North in four of their last five meetings, which was preceded by 19 straight Viking wins.
The Vikings led 10-7 in the first quarter after Makayla Cornelius’s 3-pointer.
But West reeled off the next seven points to take a 14-10 lead after one.
West’s Carson Ledford went coast to coast for a layin that stretched the lead to 21-10 with about five minutes left in the half. A Jamilyn Wilcox 3-pointer made it 24-14 with three minutes before the break.
Ledford followed up a misfired long-range shot at the buzzer to send West off with a 35-18 lead at halftime.
On the first possession of the third quarter, North’s McKenzie Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to make it 35-21, but that’s as close as the Vikings would get in the second half.
Senior Shelby Roal led the Vikings with 17 points, six steals and two blocks. Sophomore Kate Brown paced North with seven rebounds.
West improved to 2-0 in the MVAC while North dropped to 0-2.
Eagles slip past Huskies in OT
Central posted a 60-53 overtime win over Ashe County in Moravian Falls on Friday.
Eagle junior point guard Zoe Susi scored the first eight points of the extra session, on an eight-footer and a pair of three-point-play layups—the first following her own steal and the second after a steal and assist from McKenna Freeman.
Sarah Lowe’s steal and layin capped a 10-0 run for Central. Ashe would never close the gap to less than seven.
Leading 43-40 with 45 seconds left in regulation, Ashe was called for a five-second violation on an inbounds play, turning the ball over to the Eagles. Freeman was held inside and hit 1-of-2 foul shots. Ashe rebounded the miss but was called for traveling.
Karlie Anderson then fed Jacklyn Richardson for a short basket in the lane to send the game into overtime.
With the win, Central improved to 3-0 in the MVAC and moved into first place with a half-game lead over 2-0 West Wilkes. Ashe slipped to 2-1.
Susi led the Eagles with 21 points, followed by Anderson’s 16 and Lowe’s 11. Susi also have five steals and three assists. Anderson, Coach Greg Davenport’s player of the game, also pulled down 10 rebounds, as did Richardson.
Central rallies past East
A fourth-quarter comeback propelled the Central girls to a 39-35 victory over East Wilkes in Ronda on Thursday. It was Central’s fifth straight win over East.
The Eagles trailed the Cardinals by six points, 27-21, after three quarters of play.
A pair of free throws by junior forward Sarah Lowe gave Central its first lead of the game, 36-35, with 58.2 seconds left to play. On its next possession East was whistled for a double dribble.
Junior point guard Zoe Susi made two free throws with 20.4 seconds left to spot the Eagles a 38-35 advantage. East’s Lily Brown misfired on a 3-point attempt from the left corner with 8 seconds remaining.
Fouled on the rebound, Central’s Jacklyn Richardson sank 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to complete the scoring.
East’s Peyton Mastin had nine points but sprained her ankle with 5:15 left and was unable to return to the game.
The Cardinals scored the game’s first five points and held the Eagles scoreless until 3:14 left in the first quarter.
With a minute left in the second quarter, East’s Macie Bell hit a long 2-pointer from the left wing to spot her squad a 17-13 lead at halftime. Bell’s 3-pointer later in the fourth was the Cardinals’ only basket in the quarter.
East’s Lilly Adams hit a pair of free throws with 14.1 seconds left in the third for a 27-20 Cardinal advantage, but Susi made 1-of-2 with 8.7 ticks left to keep her club close.
Susi led the Eagles with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. Lowe added 12 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers. She also had five rebounds and a team-high four steals and was selected as Coach Greg Davenport’s player of the game.
Adams led the Cardinals with 11 points, with all coming from the charity stripe.
Central improved to 2-0 and forged a first-place tie with Ashe County. East dropped to 1-2.
East topples Alleghany
The East Wilkes girls defeated Alleghany in Ronda on Jan. 19, 47-26, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Trojans.
East senior guard Lily Brown hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with a minute left in the first quarter to spot the Cardinals a 9-5 lead.
East’s Lilly Adams fed Killian Warren in the lane for a short basket and foul with 35 seconds left in the first half. The Cardinals led 23-17 at the break.
East scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to effectively put the game away. Warren’s follow up of her own miss with 30 seconds left in the period gave the hosts a 37-19 lead but Alleghany’s Courtney Hash made a 15-footer at the buzzer to make it 37-21 game going into the final period.
The Cardinal lead never slipped below 15 points in the fourth period. East improved to 1-1 with the win while the Trojans dipped to 0-2.
Freshman guard Peyton Mastin and senior center Kaleigh Couch led the balanced East scoring with eight points apiece. Warren and junior guard Jordyn Bailey each had six.
Warren paced the Cardinals with six rebounds and Mastin had six steals, contributing to her team-best efficiency rating of 12.