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Storybook season ends, Watauga WBB falls to Charlotte Catholic in 4A West Championship, 61-55

By David Rogers. WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — After falling behind by as many as 11 points in the first half of the NCHSAA 4A West Regional Championship game on March 14, Watauga clawed back to tie Charlotte Catholic at 34-34 early in the second half and even led at 39-38. Unfortunately, the Cougars’ adept 3-point shooting and strong inside play around post player Blanca Thomas kept the Pioneers from extending their momentum. CCHS won, 61-55, at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum on the campus of Wake Forest University.

BONUS PHOTOS at bottom of article

In some respects, this was a battle between one dominant player on each team: Thomas had a team-high 27 points for CCHS while Kate Sears poured in a game-high 38 points for the Pioneers.  No other players on either team scored in double figures but the Cougars had just a little more scoring from players not having a last name of Thomas than the Watauga support players not named Sears.

School holiday? The Pioneers had a monster student section on March 14 vs. Charlotte Catholic at LJVMC on the campus of Wake Forest University. Photographic image by David Rogers

Case in point: Charlotte Catholic was good on 7-of-18 shots (39 percent) from beyond the arc, compared to Watauga’s paltry 4-of-22 (18 percent) from 3-point land. Freshman sharpshooter Blair Haines was 2-for-2 from long distance to account for half of her team’s made threes.  The rest of the team was 2-for-20.

Especially against opponents with a significant size advantage such as Charlotte Catholic had on the court that can dominate inside the paint, Watauga thrives — or not — from beyond the arc. This was one of those “not” encounters.

The High Country community came out in force to support the Pioneers’ historic berth in the NCHSAA 4A West Regional Championship Game. Photographic image by David Rogers

Reflecting that dominance inside, Charlotte Catholic outrebounded Watauga, 38-20, through the course of the game, including 15 offensive boards that provided the Cougars with an ample number of second chance opportunities and 23 defensive rebounds that denied the Pioneers of second chance shots.

One area that allowed Watauga to keep the game close was in free throw shooting. The Pioneers made good on 17-of-21 (81 percent) from the charity stripe while Charlotte Catholic struggled at the line, 12-of-20 (60 percent).

One of the ways Watauga kept the NCHSAA 4A West Regional Championship vs. Charlotte Catholic close was because of pesky, close defense like Blair Haines in this photo. Photographic image by David Rogers

With seven seniors on the Cougars’ roster, the Charlotte contingent was just a little bit deeper than the Pioneers. CCHS had six players who were on the court at least 19 minutes or longer, Watauga also had six players in double-digit minutes played, but Sears (31 minutes), Laney Shook (23), Kaitlyn Darner (28) and Charlotte Torgerson (30) were the only ones on the court for 23 minutes or more. Julie Matheson (16) and Haines (17) saw significant time on the floor, too.

With the win, Charlotte Catholic advances to the 4A Championship game on March 16, also to be played at LJVMC. They will face the Rolesville Rams, who defeated the Hoggard Vikings in the 4A East Regional Championship.

With the loss, Watauga’s historic season comes to a close.

TOP PERFORMERS

  • WAT – Kate Sears: 38 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals
  • CC – Blanca Thomas: 27 points, 18 rebounds, 1 blocked shot, 2 steals
  • CC – Olivia Fava: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
  • CC – Gracyn Gough: 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
  • CC – Maggie Kernodle: 9 points, 3 assists
  • WAT – Blair Haines: 6 points, 1 rebound
  • WAT – Julie Matheson: 5 points
  • WAT – Charlotte Torgerson: 4 points, 1 assist, 1 steal
  • WAT – Kaitlyn Darner: 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals

BONUS PHOTOS

All photos by David Rogers for High Country Sports

Watauga’s Kate Sears poured in a game-high 38 points in the NCHSAA 4A West Regional Championship game before seeing the Pioneers fall to Charlotte Catholic, 61-55. Photographic image by David Rogers
One of the ways Watauga kept the NCHSAA 4A West Regional Championship vs. Charlotte Catholic close was because of pesky, close defense like Blair Haines in this photo. Photographic image by David Rogers

School holiday? The Pioneers had a monster student section on March 14 vs. Charlotte Catholic at LJVMC on the campus of Wake Forest University. Photographic image by David Rogers

The High Country community came out in force to support the Pioneers’ historic berth in the NCHSAA 4A West Regional Championship Game. Photographic image by David Rogers
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