RECAP: Day one of the WMAC tournament

The coaching staff for Reynolds and Asheville congratulate each other after the game (WLOS Staff).jpg

WLOS - The Western Mountain Athletic Conference descended on Erwin High School for day one of the conference tournament. Two girls games and two boys games filled the schedule. Below is a recap of the opening round.

GIRLS - #1 Tuscola vs. #8 T.C. Roberson

The Rams came into the game as a decided underdog against the regular season champion Mountaineers. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but the Rams battled back to take a 10-8 lead on a Zy-Nice Lane layup. Shelby Glance hit a three pointer right before the first quarter buzzer to give the Mountaineers a 13-12 lead.

The second period was just as close, with Glance registering five points in the period to push the Tuscola lead to 24-22 at halftime.

The third quarter was the difference-maker as the Mountaineers outscored the Rams 19-7 in the quarter to blow the game open. Cierra Jackson led the way for Tuscola with 10 points in the third.

The fourth quarter was the Glance show as she scored all ten of the Tuscola points while the team held their opponent to five points in the final frame for a 53-34 victory.

Glance led all scorers with 20, with Jackson joining her in double figures with 15. Kourtney Krege added 8 for Ann Gardner's squad. Bryn Copenhaver paced TCR with 12, while Tycorah Palmore chipped in eight.

GIRLS - #4 Asheville vs. #5 A.C. Reynolds

Both the Cougars and the Rockets entered the first round riding three game winning streaks. Asheville sported a stellar 11-5 record in league play while Reynolds finished at 8-8. The first quarter opened rough with a combined thirteen trips to the foul line between the two teams. The Cougars featured a balanced attack with five players scoring in the opening stanza while Aryeon Shivers and Emma Reynolds both scored four for ACR en route to a 11-10 Asheville lead after one.

The second quarter was a three-person show. Olivia Lenderman scored six points for Asheville, matched by teammate Emma Smith's two three-pointers to push the Cougar lead to 23-21 at haltime. Hannah Barnes also notched six for ACR in the quarter.

The Cougars created some distance in the third quarter as Sophie Manning dropped seven to go along with four from Anna Hamner and another three from Smith. The Rockets turned to Ciara Davidson in the post, good for five points in the frame but the Asheville advantage stretched to 39-32.

The Cougars began milking the clock early in the fourth quarter, forcing Reynolds to foul before they would have liked. Smith went 5 of 6 from the charity stripe to ice away the game, 50-45.

Smith led all scorers with 19, with Lenderman tacking on 13, and Manning dropping 10. Davidson topped the Rockets score sheet with 14, with Shivers finished second at 9 points.

UP NEXT: Tuscola and Asheville will meet on Wednesday in the semifinals. The other side of the bracket plays Tuesday night, featuring #2 Erwin against #7 West Henderson and #3 Enka verse #6 North Buncombe.

BOYS - #1 North Buncombe vs. #8 West Henderson

For most of the season the NBHS Blackhawks were the class of the WMAC, winning its first nine league games; however, the team stumbled at the end, dropping three of its last four and missing out on its sole claim to the regular season title. West Henderson ended the season on a six-game losing streak but had a little momentum after winning a play-in game over T.C. Roberson. The Blackhawks jumped out to a 16-10 lead after the first quarter, fueled by five point efforts from Jack Ritchie and Caden Higgins. They also held the Falcons scoring machine Ben Bryson to zero points in the period. Kyle Porter and Dalton Whitt scored four points apiece.

The second quarter was a shootout. Whitt tacked on four more, while Bryson also tallied four and T.J. Fink dropped five. North Buncombe was a little bit hotter though, as both Ritchie and Michah Wilson poured in seven. Ren Dyer, the Blackhawks leading scorer during the season, finally got on the board with four points. The Blackhawks led 39-28 at intermission.

Both teams came back down to earth in the third quarter, as NB gleaned half of its 12 points from the charity stripe. The Falcons were 5 of 6 in their attempts from the free throw line.

Wilson and Ritche salted the game away in the fourth with a combined 12 points and six free throw attempts to lead North Buncombe to a 65-48 first round win.

Ritchie paced the 'Hawks with 20, while Wilson finished up with 17. Dyer also got in double figures with 10. Whitt led the Falcons with 14, with Fink adding 7, and Bryson and Jacob Buenette tallying 6 apiece.

BOYS - #4 North Henderson vs. #5 Enka

These are two of the streakiest teams in WNC. At times both have looked like top seeds, and then both stumbled hard at times throughout the season. During the regular season North Henderson took both match-ups between the two. The Jets came out roaring in the opening quarter. Three three-pointers and an eight point spurt from Devin Bassett gave Enka a 15-9 lead after one. Gabe Murphy scored all four of his points in the first eight minutes for the Knights.

Both teams began to heat up in the second period. Darren Lammons exploded for 13 points in the period for North, but the Jets got outstanding post play from Jay Walton who added nine of his own, emphasized by a two-handed slam off an inbounds play. The Jets as a team hit six three's in the first half to take a 42-31 lead into the locker room.

The Jets cooled off considerably in the third quarter, only scoring nine points after quarters of 15 and 27. NHHS used the opportunity to close the gap, getting eight points from Kyle Decker to chip the deficit to only three entering the final period, 51-48.

The Jets used the free throw line to seal the deal, attempting eleven from the line. Jake Smith was a perfect 6 for 6 during the quarter. The Knights' Hunter Stackhouse made a valiant effort, scoring 8 points in the quarter but the rest of his team only accounted for seven as Enka was able to cruise to a 74-63 win.

Bassett led the Jets with 22, while Walton wrapped up his day with 17. Smith tacked on 11 and Drew Raper contributed 10. Decker paced the Knights with 17, while Lammons was right behind him with 16. Stackhouse added 12.

UP NEXT: North Buncombe and Enka will meet on Wednesday in the semifinals. The other side of the bracket plays Tuesday night, featuring #2 A.C. Reynolds against #7 Erwin and #3 Tuscola vs. #6 Asheville.

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