Keeping pace near the top of the Northwestern conference, the St. Stephens boys basketball survived small runs by Watauga to win its fourth NWC game of the season.
“You have to win conference games, especially conference games at home,” said Indians coach Murphy Post. “Watauga is a good team. Any chance we have to win a conference game at home, that’s big for us, as far as playoff position and trying to contend to move up the ladder a little bit.”
Kerigan Fairley scored 16 points and Dillion Spencer added 11 points to lead the Indians (12-6, 4-2).
St. Stephens led most of the way in the first half against Watauga (6-9, 2-3), but the Pioneers cut down their deficit late in the second quarter.
St. Stephens responded with a run of its own to carry its lead to nine, 35-26, at the halftime break.
“The big thing is not giving up the little runs, but how we respond by not letting a 6-0 run turn into a 12-0 run,” Post said. “I think we did a good job of nipping it before it snowballed on us. I’m proud of our guys for the way we played tonight.”
Solid all night, Post said he was extremely pleased with his team’s offensive productivity.
“Our unofficial count is 12 turnovers, which, if that’s right, will be our lowest turnover total this year,” Post said. “We had some good offensive possessions where we passed up good shots for great shots.”
Watauga made another run in the second half, but could only cut the Indians’ lead down to five points.
Trailing late in the game, the Pioneers fouled, sending five St. Stephens players to the free throw line. They combined to make 7-of-16 chances, maintaining their double-digit margin and holding on for the win.
Jake Pifer led Watauga with 18 points, while Matt Profill added 14 points.
Watauga 46, St. Stephens 27
The Lady Warriors kept the Lady Indians winless in conference play with a win in Hickory on Tuesday.
Hannah Margolis scored 12 points, leading Watauga (4-11, 2-3) to its second NWC victory of the season.
Virginia McMahan scored nine points, to lead the Lady Indians (3-14, 0-6).