WEST JEFFERSON — It was a great tournament run for the Ashe County Huskies that just came up a bit short in the championship game against Starmount on Friday night.
The Rams beat Ashe for the first time all season to win the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Tournament, 69-48.
“I thought we played really good the first two games, but we got away from what we needed to do to be successful in the championship game,” said Ashe County head coach Nathan Colvard.
The Rams used a 25-point first quarter to take a 25-13 lead that the Huskies could never come back from. Starmount seemed to find its shooting stroke that they did not have in the previous two games against the Huskies, hitting six three-point baskets and 15-of-18 free throws.
For the Huskies, the perimeter shooting that had been successful in the previous two tourney games just was not there on Friday night, hitting only 1-of-12 three-point attempts.
“We forced too many shots on offense and couldn’t get stops on defense,” said Colvard. “Combine that with Starmount being an excellent, well-coached team and you get the result we had. Hopefully my kids will use this as motivation for the state playoffs.”
Starmount forward Kyler Gregory, who was named MVAC Player of the Year and Tournament MVP, scored 19 points to lead all players. Andrew Smythers scored 16 points and Griffin Cass added 15.
Husky senior Kendall Richardson led Ashe with 14 points and Judd Price scored 13. Both players were named to the all-tournament team.
Dante Shuler added nine points, Noah Blevins scored six, Grant Thompson had four and Colin Ellis was held to two points.
Ashe finished the regular season at 13-14 overall while the Rams ended up 16-10.
Next up for the Huskies is a road trip to Monroe in the first round of the 2A state playoffs on Tuesday. Ashe received the 20th seed while Monroe is the 13th seed.
The winner will go on to face the winner of fourth seeded Shelby and 29th seeded West Caldwell.
Monroe is led by a trio of underclassmen. Sophomore Isaiah Vinson averages 13 points a game while juniors Paul Rushing and Zephania Wall each score 10 a game.
The Redhawks are 12-8 overall and finished second in the Rocky River 2A conference, behind Forest Hills who finished at 22-2 and received the second seed in the 2A bracket.
Quarterfinals: Ashe 93, East Wilkes 75
Shuler – 27, Price – 20, Ellis – 13, Malachi Poe – 11, Thompson – 10, Dylan Little – 4, Jarod Carlton – 4, Richardson – 2, Tristen Jones – 2
Semifinals: Ashe 75, West Wilkes 58
Price – 18, Shuler – 16, Ellis – 14, Richardson – 12, Poe – 9, Thompson – 4, Jones – 2
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87