By Lance Hickey
Leicester – The Erwin girls basketball program earned another hard-fought victory over North Buncombe Friday evening, while the North Buncombe boys collected its eighth conference win of the season on a 42-point night from Ren Dyer.
The first matchup of the evening in the Leicester area Friday proved to be another Erwin girls (18-1, 10-1) dominating victory as the Warriors started hot on a Kaitlyn Messer 15-footer to help Erwin take an early 2-0 lead. Messer helped spark the Warriors to an early lead with 12 first-half points. She would finish the game with 18 points. The Erwin girls seized a 33-11 halftime lead.
The Warriors continued their push in the third quarter as Jaia Wilson aided with two third-quarter three-point field goals. Wilson would lead the team with 19 points in the game. Karlyn Pickens scored 17 points for the BlackHawks. Erwin would go on to win 61-32 over North Buncombe in front of a high-energy crowd.
The North Buncombe boys (13-5, 8-3) also tallied its eighth victory in ten games thanks in large part to a high-charging first half. The BlackHawks took their first lead at 4-2 with 1:45 gone in the first quarter on a Malachi Hammond fast break lay-in. A Jack Ritchie three pointer then gave North Buncombe an early 9-4 lead.
The Warriors responded on an up-and-under layup by Johnny Peay to get Erwin within three points at 11-8. North Buncombe responded again, finishing the quarter on a 7-2 run. The BlackHawks led 18-10 at the end of the first quarter.
North Buncombe continued its hot shooting in the second quarter, gaining a 27-13 lead midway through the second quarter on a shifty layup by Micah Wilson. The BlackHawks headed into the break with an 11-point lead at 36-25.
Erwin boys (10-8, 5,6) still had some life left in the tank as the Warriors began to slowly carve into North Buncombe’s lead. A Rashod Chaffin trifecta helped close in to North Buncombe’s lead to help get within 48-45. The BlackHawks followed with a 14-7 run of their own to take a 62-50 lead.
The Warriors would cut the BlackHawks lead at 71-68 with 2:54 remaining following a three pointer with 2:54 remaining in the game. North Buncombe’s Ren Dyer had an answer, scoring eight points on eight free throws in the final three minutes to help the BlackHawks claim an 80-71 victory over the Warriors.