MISENHEIMER — In its 1A state playoff opening round contest at No. 5-seeded Gray Stone Day, the 28th-seeded Avery Lady Vikings had a familiar malady of an offensive outage rear its ugly head. Gray Stone Day held the Big Red scoreless for more than a quarter and a half in their Tuesday, Feb. 5, matchup, with GSD earning a 66-28 win to close Avery’s season.
From the opening tip, the Lady Vikings found it difficult to find its footing against a talented Gray Stone Day club that prevented Avery from scoring a single point in the opening quarter. The Knights tallied 15 points in the frame to build a commanding double-digit lead entering the second quarter.
Gray Stone scored the next six points of the game to lead 21-0 before an Avery field goal took the proverbial lid off the field goal at the 4:24 mark of the second period. GSD drained four 3-point baskets in the first half, while Avery senior Hannah Crosby scored a pair of baskets to lead the Lady Vikings. The Knights held a commanding 33-9 lead at halftime.
As the second half unfolded, Avery continued to find the going difficult against an athletic and tall Knights team anchored by center Jenna Robinson. The six-footer scored 12 points for the Knights and made inside scoring tough on Avery throughout the contest. Despite facing a significant deficit, the Lady Vikings continued to scrap for buckets, as the club more than doubled its first-half output in the third period alone. Crosby added a three-pointer, with field goals from Addie Beck and Lila Cantrell, to go with free throws from Tiffany Brocco, Reagan Hughes and Alexis Stines.
GSD countered with senior guard Danielle Werts, who scored a game-high 17 points, including four points in the third stanza, to extend the Knights lead to 50-21 after three periods. In the final eight minutes, the Lady Vikings could manage just seven points as the outcome of the contest was no longer in doubt. Mari Maya scored in the quarter, as did Madison Greene off the bench, with free throws from Brocco, Cantrell and Rylee Walker.
Crosby led the Lady Vikings with seven points, with four points each from Brocco and Hughes and three points each from Beck and Cantrell. Werts and Robinson were joined in double figures scoring for Gray Stone Day by teammates Danika Ray with 14 points.
Avery concluded its season with an overall record of 5-20, with a 3-7 mark in Western Highlands Conference regular-season games. The Lady Vikings graduate four seniors from this year’s squad and will seek to build around a young nucleus of gifted players as it looks ahead to the 2020-21 campaign.
Gray Stone Day improved to 23-1 overall, defeating Hiwassee Dam to advance to the third round of the state tournament, where the Knights lost to East Surry by a 65-44 final score to end its season with a 25-2 season mark.