Avery’s junior varsity basketball teams went a perfect 3-0 in conference contests last week, as the boys team swept conference foes Owen and Mitchell, while the Lady Viking JVs were victorious in their only game of the week at Mitchell.
JV boys run past Owen, Mitchell
Avery 47, Owen 36
NEWLAND — Matching up against the Owen Warhorses and county-line rival Mitchell Mountaineers, both were exciting games leading up to big wins. The boys hope to sweep both teams as they meet back up with the Warhorses on February 3 at Black Mountain and the Mountaineers on February 7 in Newland to close out the regular season.
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Viking JV boys came out to protect their home gym as the defense clamped down Owen (2-11,1-4 WHC) to only six points in the first quarter. Avery energized the game with 22 points in their first quarter of play, particularly with the play of teammates Weston Woody and Hank Johnson, as they swished two threes. Landon Harmon and Johnson also had a perfect free throw percentage, shooting 4-of-4 combined.
Colton Morris was the leading Warhorse player in the first half, as he racked up six total points. Owen stayed steady with 12 points, but were well off pace as Avery built a large lead at 33-12 at the halftime break.
Harmon was the only Viking to score in at the start of the second half, but went for a pair of three-pointers and one more two-pointer to close out his shooting game.
Led by seven points from Owen’s Jared Kelly and contributions from teammates Josh Hollowell, Tony Burgin and Josh Nichols, the visitors put together a comeback in the second half to cut the Avery lead at one point on the scoreboard late in the second half, but Avery held off the Warhorse charge to pull out the victory.
Avery’s Oak Markland and Jaxton Boone made significant foul shots to add four points to the Viking tally, with a pair in the final stanza from Landon Liner helping to keep Owen at bay. Harmon and Liner led scoring for Avery, as Harmon scored 10 and Liner poured in eight points. Woody had a nice night retrieving rebounds for the Vikes, leading the club with seven boards.
Hollowell led Owen with 10 points, with seven from Kelly.
Avery 46, Mitchell 36
LEDGER — Avery also met up with their rival Mountaineers (8-3, 3-2 WHC) in Ledger on Thursday, Jan. 12, earning a win on the road by a 10-point margin.
Oak Markland had a successful game as he went 7-for-11 shooting to score 14 points and lead the Big Red to the conference win. Weston Woody followed up with 11 points, with Landon Harmon being a big defensive presence with eight rebounds for the contest.
The first quarter started out close as Avery led 9-6. John Hedrick, Carson Banks and Hayden Ledford all scored baskets to add to the Mountaineers’ score. Ledford kept playing his game into the second quarter, as he knocked down a three-pointer and added six more points in all to help the ‘Neers keep it close. Mitchell had its biggest scoring output come in the second quarter, as it overtook the Avery advantage and took a 22-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Avery erased the Mitchell margin in the second half. Brynnox Maya helped out with the team’s victory defensively with his three steals, and by the end of the third quarter, the Viking boys benefitted from a Harmon three-pointer to cut the Mountaineers’ lead to 30-28 with around 1:22 left in the quarter. Maya tied the game with a basket just prior to the end of the third quarter.
In the final seven minutes, Avery held tough, outscoring Mitchell by a 16-6 margin to close out the contest. Markland had four points in the quarter to help build the lead.
Mitchell attempted to stay close with a bucket, but Avery only answered with field goals from Johnson and Woody as the Big Red went on to win.
Team leaders in shooting for the Mountaineers included Ledford with 18 points and Hedrick with 10 points.
Thursday night was an important victory for the junior varsity Vikings, improving the team’s record to 9-5 overall and an unbeaten 6-0 in the conference.
The JVs will be gearing up for another thrilling matchup this week when it travels to Valdese to take on Draughn on Friday, Jan. 20. Avery’s JV boys will seek a season sweep in the game.
JV Girls roll past Lady Mountaineers
LEDGER — The Avery Lady Vikings junior varsity girls basketball team boosted its win streak to eight games after winning against the Mitchell Mountaineers (0-6, 0-2 WHC) 50-6 on Thursday night, Jan. 12.
Avery shut out the Mitchell girls 17-0 in the first seven minutes of play. Melanie Arnett started off her big 14-point night with a strong eight-point showing in the first period.
Arnett and teammate Kylie Holtsclaw went on to score a combined 12 points prior to the halftime break, as Avery dominated the home team by a 35-2 score at the intermission. Mitchell’s lone scorer was J. Beaver in the first half.
Mitchell doubled its total in the third quarter with a basket, but Avery’s smothering defense continued to force turnover after Mitchell turnover, which led to transition baskets for AHS.
Holtsclaw added a three-pointer to keep the Lady Viking offense flowing, while teammate Jadyn Whitley was also perfect from the free-throw line, going 2-for-2 and having three points total in the frame.
Avery’s Emma Clark was physical and fought hard for the ball against Mitchell, with help on the boards from teammate Kesleigh Krege.
Avery finished the third quarter leading 50-6, forcing a running clock via NCHSAA mercy rule that calls for a running game clock after a team reaches a lead of at least 40 points in the second half.
The fourth quarter was a slow go with the ticking clock with little scoring in the period with the game well in hand for the Avery team.
Avery’s junior varsity girls are now 10-1 overall and 4-0 in the Western Highlands Conference, with an unbeaten mark at Viking Gym this season. Avery returns to the court for a rematch with Mitchell in Newland on February 7. The team’s next game on the schedule will be this Friday, Jan. 20, when the Lady Vikings travel to Valdese to take on the Draughn High School JV Lady Wildcats (6-4, 3-2 WHC) at 4 p.m.