Starmount recorded the only upset in the tournament thus far with a 79-71 upending of North Surry on Monday evening. Starmount has a curious case this season as they defeated every MVAC team with their victory over North Surry, with the exception of Ashe County. Although they had defeated every other team, they also have lost to every team in the MVAC, and finished the season in fifth place.
The victory over North Surry propelled the Rams into the semifinals, where they met the first ranked Huskies. Ashe County is hosting this year’s tournament, giving the Huskies home court advantage for the semifinals and the finals.
Ashe handled the Rams with ease and ran away down the stretch to a 64-44 final victory over the Rams.
The game opened up slow with a 15-11 first quarter, with neither team being able to pull ahead by more than two points until the final minute when a basket by Daniel Waln gave the Huskies a 15-11 lead, which stood till the end of the quarter.
Heading into the second period, the Huskies came to life as they jumped out on an 18-6 run over the span of the first four minutes of the period, bringing the score to 33-17. During the rally for Ashe, Waln fueled the Huskies’ offense with back-to-back three pointers, and also a stretch of five straight points scored by Tatum Lemly.
However, the action that was fast paced for the first four minutes of the quarter slowed dramatically for the final four minutes. The total of 24 points that was scored in the opening four minutes, dropped to only ten points in the final four minutes, but Ashe scored six of the ten, giving them a 39-21 lead at halftime. As Ashe climbed to their 39-point team total at halftime, they recorded a 24-point second quarter, with Waln scoring ten of the Huskies points by himself on way to a total of 22 points for the contest.
Ashe exited halftime with an 18 point lead, and simply protected their lead in the second half as they outscored the Rams 17-15 in the third quarter, and then the two teams were even in the fourth quarter with eight points each, giving Ashe the final 64-44 victory.
Waln led the way offensively for Ashe with 22 points during the contest, ten of which came in the second quarter. Waln also was the leading distributor, as he recorded five assists during the contest. Helping Waln on offense was Spagnolo, who scored 14 points, and grabbed seven rebounds. Following Waln and Spagnolo was Lemly with eight points, Greyson Wells with six points, Tavin Holman, Tucker Clay, and Jordan Nichols with four points each, and Dustin Hamm rounded out the scoring with two points.
The victory moved the Huskies record for the season to 21-3, and advanced them into the Finals, which are slated for this evening, Friday, at Ashe County High School beginning around 8 p.m. following the Ladies’ finals.
This season marks the second straight year that the Huskies have advanced to the finals of the MVAC Tournament, as they lost to Starmount in the finals last season.
This season marked the first time in Ashe County High School history that the Huskies had defeated Starmount. Ironically, the Huskies defeated the Rams three times this season, a fact that a large portion of the sports world says is a hard feat to achieve.
The Huskies await the winner of the Wilkes Central-North Wilkes pairing from Thursday evening.
Wilkes Central, second seeded team heading into the tournament, had a relatively easy first round as they hosted Surry Central, the seventh seeded team. The Eagles claimed the 63-42 victory, advancing them into the semifinals.
North Wilkes was the third seeded team heading into the tournament, and faced off with Forbush, the sixth seeded team in the tournament. North Wilkes defended their home court with a 70-57 victory over the Falcons to complete the bottom semifinals of the bracket.
The winner of the Wilkes Central-North Wilkes pairing from Thursday evening will meet the Huskies in the finals this evening, Friday, with tip-off beginning at approximately 8 p.m.
Look for results of the Championship game in Tuesday’s edition of the Jefferson Post or online Friday night at www.JeffersonPost.com.