WEST JEFFERSON — A bittersweet battle between the Ashe County High School varsity boys’ basketball team and the West Wilkes Blackhawks ensued as champions were crowned and Ashe’s seniors played their final game of the conference season on Feb. 17.
Ashe walked away with a No. 1 title and a 63-40 victory against the Blackhawks.
With a turnover in the first 10 seconds from Austin Poe, the Huskies took advantage of the scoreboard first. Tatum Brown quickly reciprocated the act and shot a three-pointer.
Offense rested in favor of the home team with Camden Current making quick passes to fellow teammate Ethan Ashley, ultimately throwing the ball through the hoop. West Wilkes, however, became just as strong and kept the score close throughout the first half. With tight and structured defense, the Blackhawks did not let up on the ball, often double teaming in attempt to gain a steal and create a wall against Ashe.
The game became a blur as the scores were closely linked throughout the first 16 minutes, leaving at halftime 30-28 with the Huskies in the lead.
The second half saw only a more secured win as Jake Grubb began to pull out three-pointers left and right, displaying the work he’ll likely exhibit next season.
Sophomore Austin Grogan also geared up for his upcoming junior year basketball career and made note-worthy shots and hinting at his ability to dunk.
As the second half began to come to a close, the Blackhawks seemed to notice the defeat handed to them but never backed down. Their defense remained strong and the shots they threw up were successful in falling through the net.
Coach Nathan Colvard made the decision to bring the starting seniors off the court as the seconds dwindled. With shared hugs and sentimental “thank you’s,” the Huskies secured their title and ended the season; a season for the books.
Top scorers for the contest were Jake Grub with 19 points and Ethan Ashley with 18. The varsity boys left 10-3 in the conference. and will begin playoffs on Feb. 23.