WILKESBORO — The Ashe County Huskies girls basketball team left the cold and snow Friday, Feb. 7 and headed to Wilkes Central for a big conference game with the Eagles. The Huskies (16-5) won the 54-44 contest, spoiling the last home game for the Eagles’ (16-5) seniors.
Early threes from Kenadie Hudler and Audrey Craven helped the Huskies jump out to an 8-3 lead. Craven followed with another three, helping Ashe to a 15-6 lead after the first quarter.
“We came out strong,” head coach Brianna Ashley said. “Audrey came out strong, hit two threes.”
The Eagles weren’t going to go down without a fight. Lead by the two-way play from Erica Wyatt, Wilkes Central pushed their way back into the game, but Ashe held firm. After a late score from Hallie Treva, the Huskies lead 26-19 at the half.
“We know it’s Wilkes Central, they’re going to make a run,” Ashley said. “They’re going to make runs throughout the game and you’ve got to sustain those.”
The Eagles switched to a full-court pressing defense in the second half of the game, wanting to dig into the lead as much as possible. It did not work, with Ashe continuing to control the game.
As Treva drained a three from the corner, the Huskies extended their lead to 40-25 with not much time left in the third. A late score from Wyatt helped, but the Eagles still trailed 40-27 heading into the final frame.
While the Eagles still fought for their way back into the game, the Huskies kept rolling.
“I am super proud of their effort and their defensive intensity,” Ashley said. “I’m really proud of the girls that didn’t start the game. Our energy from the bench was unreal. They cheered their teammates on, our bench was our sixth and seventh man tonight.”
Huskies sophomore Jayden Jones made her way to the charity stripe with just over two minutes remaining, hitting both free throws for a 50-35 lead. Too big to overcome, the Huskies chewed clock en route to the 54-44 win.
“Playing at Wilkes Central is one of the toughest places to play in the conference hands-down,” Ashley said. “The atmosphere here, the gym is small and loud, it’s hard to come into that atmosphere and play. These ladies lived up to it tonight.”
The win placed the Huskies with the Eagles, West Wilkes and Alleghany for a four-way tie for first in the conference. Ashe’s final game is a Tuesday, Feb. 11 senior night match-up with West Wilkes (17-4) for a share of the conference title.