HAYS — In their final road game of the regular season, the Ashe County Huskies boys basketball team (6-15) knocked out the North Wilkes Vikings (11-12) Friday, Feb. 8.
The game started slowly for both teams, with a Colby Greer block helping to keep the game scoreless after two minutes. While the Vikings started to put points on the board, Branson Shepherd put in work, scoring four points early to grab a 4-3 lead after just over three minutes. The two teams went back and forth, eventually ending the first quarter with an 11-12 North Wilkes lead.
The offense for the Huskies sputtered in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Austin Poe was sent to the bench due to foul trouble, according to head coach Nathan Colvard, while Alec Roland took some minutes to rest. Roland made an impact immediately after coming back into the game, sinking a pair of free throws with just over three minutes left to tie it at 16.
The Huskies grabbed a steal on the ensuing in-bounds pass, and a fouled Cory Treva went to the charity stripe and nabbed an 18-16 lead. Ashe’s defense started to own the game from then on, holding the Vikings to two points in the final three minutes of the first half, while they raced out to a 25-18 lead.
Poe drained a three to open the second half for the Huskies, stretching their lead to 10. Shepherd answered with four unanswered points as the Huskies started to run away with it. While turnovers allowed the Vikings to gain some ground, Ashe kept scoring as they carried a 36-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings, left with not many options, switched to a 3-and-D type attack, pressing hard while taking pot-shots from beyond the arc. The game was put away with the combination of a Roland three and a Poe and-one late in the game, crushing the Vikings 57-40.
After the game, Colvard said it was simply a good all-around performance from his team that led them to the win.
“I thought we did a much better job taking care of the basketball tonight,” Colvard said. “We did a really good job shooting free throws tonight. In the first half, they killed us on the boards and we talked about that at halftime. In the second half, we were able to hold them to worse shots, our zone worked out really well.”
The Huskies’ next game of the season is their final one, a home game against East Wilkes (3-18) Tuesday, Feb. 12, which will be Senior Night.