Tuscola survives first testsGardner’s girls beat Erwin; Messer’s boys clip Falcons
The clock couldn’t run out quickly enough for the Tuscola varsity girls basketball team in its Class 3-A West state tournament opener Monday night.
The Mountaineers finally found a way to hold on for a 52-48 triumph over a resilient Erwin squad, breathing a sigh of relief heading into tonight’s 6 p.m. second round game against Morganton Patton High School at Tuscola High School.
“We haven’t seen much zone this year and it took us a while to get accustomed to attacking it,” said Tuscola Head Coach Ann Gardner. “But our defense was very good, which gave us the time we needed to adjust.”
Tuscola improved to 20-7 overall, while Erwin ended its season at 13-13.
In the first two quarters, Erwin employed an effective zone defense that posed numerous problems for the Mountaineers.
But as cold as the Mountaineers were from the floor, Erwin wasn’t any better, as Tuscola managed to take an 15-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Both teams scores 16 points in the third quarter as Tuscola carried a one-point lead into the final eight minutes, 31-30.
But the differencve in the game was senior Taylor Gibson, who scored nine of her team-high 17 points in a critical fourth quarter run to send the Mountaineers into the second round and sent the Warriors home.
For the Mountaineers, Shelby Tricoli finished with 14 points, Alex Swanger chipped in 13, Peyton Fisher had five and Jasmine Duncan contributed three points.
West Henderson 56
Coming off a tough loss to Smoky Mountain in the WNCAC Tournament championship game, the No. 2 seed Tuscola varsity boys basketball team came out strong and never let up in rolling to an 87-56 victory over No. 15 seed West Henderson in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A West playoffs.
The Mountaineers (22-4) utilized their trademark pressure defense to take a 46-29 lead at the half and expanded the advantage to 20 points, 62-42, going into the final quarter.
Tuscola will host the Ashbrook Green Wave (19-8) from Gastonia at 7:30 p.m. tonight in a second round playoff game.
Aaron Westhusing pumped in a team-high 20 points for the Mountaineers, while Logan Hardin scored 14 points, Thomas Hay recorded a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds, Charles Worrell and Woody Cornwall finished with 10 points each, Kendrall Harlan had eight points, Hunter Bradley contributed six points, including a 3-pointer from half court shot as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter.
West Henderson’s Zack Bell finished with a game-high 30 points.