East Wilkes basketball came out of the first half of a four-game week unscathed, with both the girls and boys teams grabbing wins against North Stokes and Ashe County.
Boys: East Wilkes 63 – North Stokes 49
RONDA — Following a blowout loss at Alleghany Jan. 15, frustration seemed to be at its highest it had been all year. However, despite being 2-11 overall and 0-5 in the conference, Head Coach Brad Davis always seemed to know they had the capability to turn things around.
After defeating North Stokes 63-49 Monday night and following it up with a buzzer-beater next, the Cardinals certainly seem to have done just that. The Cardinals (7-12, 4-7 MVAC) have gotten hot at the right time to work their way up in the conference standings. With just two weeks to go in the regular season, it was certainly needed as they prepare for the conference tournament.
“Each player is starting to understand their roles a little more, and not only have they understood their roles, they have accepted them, Davis said. “We have had a good team all year, and the pieces are starting to fall into place now. Hopefully, we can continue to build on what we have done in the last two weeks.”
No player really stole the spotlight, but Davis was not only content with that; it’s what he wants out of the team the rest of the year. It was an all-around win for the Cardinals as everyone pitched in for the win. Senior Andrew Nance and junior Joah Logan account for 19 of the 27 first-half points.
“We talked about how two of our guys were doing most of our scoring and that it needed to be more balanced,” said Davis about his halftime discussion with the team. “And I thought we did that in the second half. Camon [Bryan] and Shareef [Ray] both took the charge and played well in the fourth quarter.”
Ray’s performance almost didn’t happen either. Ray came down awkwardly and was down on the court. However, he got up and walked to the bench under his own power. When he came back in the game, he made good on a double-double effort with 11 points and 10 rebounds, with nine of his points coming in the second half.
What stood out the most, fitting the style of East Wilkes for most of its sports teams, was the defense. The score stayed 24-24 for over three minutes before a 3-pointer by Nance sparked a 7-0 run that carried over into the second half. Logan, the team’s top scorer of the night with 22 said the team’s willingness to come together was key.
“I feel like as a team we played for each other especially in the second half,” Logan said. “It was great for us to be able to close it out with our defense.”
However, with it being a non-conference game, they still had a task at hand the following night if they wanted to get back in the conference race. They did just that Tuesday night on the road against the team that just barely eked out a win last month.
Boys: East Wilkes 69 – Ashe County 67
WEST JEFFERSON — Joah Logan showed why he’s certainly one of the top players in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference.
The junior took the ball the length of the court in seven seconds and buried a jumper just outside the lane at the buzzer to knock off the Ashe County Huskies on Tuesday night 69-67.
Logan led all players with 23 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including the biggest shot of the night at the horn.
Ashe jumped out to the early lead by a 22-14 margin at the end of one. East Wilkes battled back and pulled to within three points at the half, 35-32.
The third quarter was a good one for the Cardinals, which included a 15-5 run to take a 47-40 lead over the Huskies.
Ashe battled back and tied the score in the fourth quarter, setting up an exciting finish.
Both teams missed scoring opportunities down the stretch to break the tie, but it would be Logan’s jumper after a Cardinal timeout that would finally decide the game.
On the Huskies’ final possession, Ashe’s attempt to take the lead ended with a charge call against junior guard Colin Ellis in a play that looked like it could have went either way.
Unfortunately for Ashe, it just wasn’t its night on the hardwood.
Senior Shareef Ray added 16 points, Andrew Nance scored 15 and Camon Bryan scored nine for the Cardinals.
Ashe had a trio of double-figure scorers. Judd Price led the way with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Price also added three steals and three rebounds. Dante Shuler scored 13 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds and four steals and Colin Ellis added 13 points.
Junior Malachi Poe scored seven points, Kendall Richardson had six points and five rebounds, Noah Blevins added six points and Tristen Jones scored five to round out the Husky point totals.
The Cardinals’ record sits at 7-12 overall and 4-7 in the MVAC. Ashe fell to 8-12 overall and 6-4 in the MVAC.
Ashe will end the week at home against Elkin on Friday.
*As of Feb. 3
1. Starmount: 11-9, 9-2
2. North Wilkes: 14-7, 9-2
3. Ashe County: 9-12, 7-4
4. Alleghany: 13-7, 6-5
5. West Wilkes: 7-13, 5-6
6. Wilkes Central: 6-15, 4-7
7. East Wilkes: 7-12, 4-7
8. Elkin: 1-19, 0-11
Girls: East Wilkes 59 – North Stokes 25
RONDA — East Wilkes cruised past North Stokes 59-25 Monday night to start off their four-game week right.
The Cardinals put the throttle down right from the beginning to lead 20-4 at the end of the first quarter, and their lead continued to swell to as many as 39. Good distribution plus working the ball inside-out and hitting shots equaled yet another win for the Cardinals.
“I thought we shot the ball well but we also shared the ball really well. I don’t know how many team assists we had but it felt like a ton,” Head Coach Matt Campbell said. “I thought we did a good job with our team rebounding. Defensively, we tried to get a bunch of different looks. Overall, I was pretty pleased with that but we’ve got some things that we have to get better at.”
As the team gets ready for senior night Friday against Alleghany, it was fitting that all of the seniors on the court Monday night played a key role in the win. Chelsea Edwards had 24 points and three blocked shots in the win, while Olivia Bullard had seven points and four rebounds. However, it was Grace Johnson who caught the attention of Campbell. Typically leading by support on and off the floor, the senior had 10 points and picked up four rebounds in the win.
“She’s been our leader. A lot of people don’t realize that because she may not get the minutes but she provides things even when she’s not on the floor,” Campbell said. “She’s always there with inspiration when the girls are coming off the floor during the game. She’s always encouraging them but when she gets out there, she always seems to go to an extra degree of getting other people going.”
Girls: East Wilkes 51 – Ashe County 28
WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County dropped its third straight contest on Tuesday night with a 51-28 defeat at the hands of East Wilkes.
The Lady Cardinals (12-6, 9-2 MVAC) used a tough full-court press for most of the night to frustrate the Lady Huskies and get some easy baskets.
East Wilkes jumped out to a six-point edge at the end of the first at 14-8 and continued to add to the lead in the second quarter, taking a 27-14 halftime advantage.
The Cardinals put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring Ashe 16-3 to push the lead up to 26 points.
Alexis Pardue was the top scorer for East with 16 points. Lauren Johnson had a solid shooting night, adding 10 points. Chelsea Edwards chipped in seven points and Ashlyn Nixon added five.
Freshman Samantha Woods led the Lady Huskies with nine points. Chloe Sullivan, Lyndsi Holman and Jayce Miller each added four points. Madison Osborne scored three, Madison Warner added two and Abby Sullivan scored two.
Ashe fell to 10-10 overall and 3-7 in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference.
The Lady Huskies will be back at home on Friday when they host Elkin.
East Wilkes will be in action Friday night when it hosts senior night against Alleghany. Festivities are scheduled to begin at roughly 6 p.m.
*As of Feb. 3
1. Elkin: 19-1, 10-1
2. North Wilkes: 19-2, 9-2
3. East Wilkes: 12-6, 9-2
4. Wilkes Central: 14-7, 7-4
5. Ashe County: 11-10, 4-7
6. Starmount: 3-16, 2-8
7. West Wilkes: 4-15, 1-9
8. Alleghany: 4-16, 1-10