By Lance Hickey
Asheville – The Erwin boys’ and girls’ basketball programs earned hard-fought victories at A.C. Reynolds Friday night, as the Erwin girls continued their hopes for an undefeated season.
In the first game of the evening, the Erwin girls (17-0, 9-0) squad took over early thanks to two Jaia Wilson first quarter three pointers. The Warriors would take a 27-12 lead into the intermission. The second half proved to be much the same as the Warriors continued their hot shooting, collecting a 62-32 victory Friday.
“I think our effort on defense is what got us going tonight,” said Erwin girls basketball head coach Matt Carpenter. “In the second half we were more selective and found opportunities to score around the basket.”
Wilson led the way with 17 points on the evening.
“When Jaia really has it going on both ends of the floor, she is fun to watch,” Carpenter said. “You can’t be a fan of this game and not admire how she is able to play it.”
Kaitlyn Messer, who leads the team in several statistical categories, also added 11 points for the Warriors.
“What Kaitlyn Messer does for this team is tough to summarize,” Carpenter said. “She does everything extremely well and does it consistently. Nautica Smiley is another who leads daily, always sharing positive energy.”
The Erwin girls’ program is now ranked sixth in the MaxPreps North Carolina high school girls basketball rankings.
“It’s (an undefeated season) obviously special for these girls,” Carpenter said. “But it doesn’t mean a thing to me right now and it’s rarely mentioned.”
The Warriors’ pursuit of an undefeated season continues at home against Asheville on Tuesday.
The Erwin boys (10-6, 5-4) also tallied a victory over A.C. Reynolds in a highly-contested matchup Friday evening.
The first quarter proved to be a low-scoring affair as both teams struggled from the field as Erwin held a 5-4 lead at the end of the period.
The Warriors began to find their groove early in the second quarter as Austin Dover converted on two consecutive baskets, including a shifty fast break lay up to give Erwin a 9-4 lead with 6:25 remaining in the half.
A three pointer by A.C. Reynolds’ Tyler Parton helped the Rockets tie the game at nine apiece with just under five minutes left in the second quarter.
The Warriors had an answer, several of them. Two three pointers by David Misenheimer helped push Erwin into a 17-11 lead. The Warriors began to pull away, taking an eight-point lead with the score 24-16 at the break.
Early in the third quarter both teams continued to trade baskets. An A.C. Reynolds three pointer helped edge the Rockets within four points at 24-20, but fast break layups by Erwin’s Simeon Thompson and Tristan Brunk helped the Warriors regain an eight-point advantage. Rashod Chaffin would later convert on a trifecta of his own to put Erwin ahead by 13 points as the Warriors held a 40-27 advantage. They would lead 45-35 at the end of the third period.
The fourth quarter proved to be much of the same as A.C. Reynolds’ push to vanquish Erwin’s lead wasn’t enough as the Warriors collected a 63-54 victory on Friday evening. Erwin was led by notable performances by Rashod Chaffin, 16 points, and Tristan Brunk, 15 points, in the Warriors victory.