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Reynolds girls basketball ‘makes a statement,’ beats previously undefeated Asheville High

ASHEVILLE — Trailing by three points with 11.1 seconds remaining Friday, Asheville High forward Evangelia Paulk finally shed Reynolds guard Anna Wilcox, whose faceguarding had denied the Cougars star the ball for most of the night.Paulk received the inbound and took off upcourt, capitalizing on what was essentially the most space she’d had all night. By the time she reached the top of the key, however, Wilcox had caught up, and the junior stripped the ball as Paulk tried to get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer.Asheville couldn’t recover the ball before time expired, but the Rockets crowd was so loud that the players hardly heard the final buzzer. Once they realized the game was over, their excitement level immediately rose to meet that of their fans.With a gameplan that centered on limiting Paulk, the Rockets dished the Cougars their first loss of the season in a 63-60 game that puts the two teams even atop the MAC standings with one conference loss apiece.”We desperately wanted it. Wanted to make a statement that we’re the defending conference champions,” Reynolds coach Amanda Whitaker said. “We made that statement tonight.”ROCKETS ON TOP:The Reynolds boys also avenged their only conference loss this weekCONFERENCE TOURNAMENT STANDOUTS:Top WNC performers in wrestling and swimmingTOP PERFORMERS:The area athletes who had big games this weekAs was the case during the teams’ first meeting earlier this month, the Rockets (14-6, 8-1) began on the front foot Friday, taking a 38-24 lead into halftime.Unlike last time, though, when turnovers allowed Asheville (18-1, 7-1) to close the game on a 27-8 run en route to an 11-point win, Reynolds took care of the ball against the second-half press Friday.”We kind of choked in the fourth quarter of the last game. We were determined that that was not going to happen again,” Whitaker said. “We’ve been practicing all week showing different kinds of defenses, we even had the boys come in and practice with us, so we were prepared.”Still, Asheville beat the third-quarter buzzer to be within 10 points entering the final period, and despite a pair of fourth-quarter triples from Reynolds sophomore Peyton Harvey, some clutch buckets on the other end made it a one-possession game in the final seconds.Clinching the win required 11.4 more seconds of defensive effort from Wilcox, who had spent all game faceguarding Paulk.The Wofford signee still worked her way to 21 points, but the box-and-one prevented her from orchestrating offense from the post and creating numbers advantages for her teammates.”We just said, ‘She’s not catching the ball,'” said Harvey (17 points). “And we really just wanted it tonight. We wanted it.”Wilcox’s rip at the top of the key sealed the Rockets biggest win of the season, snapping the Cougars’ 18-game win streak and creating a possible shared regular season championship that would considerably raise the stakes of a potential conference tournament meeting.”It was really exciting, so fun, I love games like that. Definitely panic was setting in, but we brought it together and calmed ourselves down,” said Jenna Barnes, who had a game-high 24 points. “We’re trying to make it two [championships] in a row. It’s really huge that we get to be able to do that, especially as a senior.”

Girls basketball video highlights: Reynolds snaps Asheville High’s 18-game win streak

Reynolds girls basketball video highlights vs. Asheville High (NCHSAA)Local Sports High School Huddle Scene Lifestyle Obituaries eNewspaper Legals Video highlights from the Rockets’ 63-60 win over the Cougars. The teams went down to the wire and combined for five 15-point scorers Friday.James Crabtree-Hannigan James Crabtree-Hannigan, Asheville Citizen TimesWatch Next  © 2023 www.citizen-times.com. All rights reserved.

Christ School at Asheville School boys basketball gallery

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