ELKIN - A night after withstanding a furious rally against North Wilkes, the Buckin’ Elks grinded out another win Tuesday night over 1A rival Alleghany.
Elkin pulled away from the Trojans in the fourth quarter to pick up its 10th Mountain Valley Conference victory of the season, 56-38.
“I think we were a little tired from last night. But we had a real good team effort, especially in the second half,” head coach Kenneth Abrams explained. “We were being out-rebounded 15-8 in the first half, and that’s what kept them in the game. We changed that around in the second half.
“We got some good, unselfish play as far as passing the ball around. It was a good, grind-out win. We’re getting better and better team-wise each game. We want to peak at the right time,” he added.
On the heels of Monday’s marathon, the Elks came out sluggish, trading buckets with Alleghany early. After a Kody King drive to the hoop to tie the game at 7-all, Chris Hudspeth drilled his second three of the first quarter to give Elkin a 10-7 lead they would never surrender.
King’s layup jump-started a 14-2 run that opened the second period to give Elkin a double-digit lead at 19-9.
The Trojans responded as they would all night, reeling off nine-straight to trim the deficit down to 19-18. The Elks closed the half on a 9-2 burst to take a 28-20 lead into the break.
In the second half, Alleghany hung around but was unable to get closer than six early in the fourth at 38-32.
Elkin closed the game on a commanding 18-6 charge - including knocking down 5-of-6 free throws over the final 5:56 of the game - to pull out the hard-fought 56-38 victory.
“We’re just happy to grind this one out,” Abrams said.
In a balanced scoring night, only six Elks found the scoresheet, led by 13 points by Hudspeth on three trifectas. Trey King and Sam Lane added 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Miller tacked on eight. Calvin Yarboro and Kody King added seven points apiece.
Elkin (10-0) now turns its focus on the biggest game of the season - a second matchup with second place Wilkes Central (9-1) tonight in Moravian Falls.
“Going into Wilkes Central, we have to play smart and control the tempo,” Abrams said. “We’ll have to stop their back-court and rebound the ball well. We have to dictate what we want to do, and that’s what we’re planning on doing.”
The Buckin’ Elks dethroned the defending champion Eagles 61-51 in the teams’ first meeting on December 11. Abrams said he will make adjustments from that game to repeat the outcome the second time around.
“I will look at the stats from the first game,” he explained. “It was tight in the first half. They had a couple players who kept them around, so we’ll know who we have to guard more closely.
“I’ll look at the stats and the film and make some adjustments,” Abrams continued. “We have to stop penetration and stop [Will] Cornette from shooting the three. But most importantly, those kids rebound well, so we’ll have to keep them off the class. If Sam, Frank and those other guys come to play, it wont be an easy win, but we can win. If we show up the way we did [Monday], we’ll be alright. We just have to stay focused.”
Abrams added that Elkin’s confidence level is very high heading into the marquee matchup.
“The team is very confident; I’m the one who is nervous,” he said. “This is what we practice hard and work hard for - now it’s here. We control our destiny and Wilkes Central controls theirs.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.