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James Stewart looks to shoot over Mountain Heritage’s Grant Buckner. Stewart scored 15 points
to lead Avery in its win against the Cougars last week. Photo by Jamie Shell

Originally published: 2014-02-12 17:49:08
Last modified: 2014-02-12 17:49:54

CONFERENCE CHAMPS! Vikings clinches outright WHC title with trio of road victories

Jamie Shell / (

The phrase “defense travels” is an apt description for the 2013-14 Avery Vikings varsity boys basketball team, as it surrendered no greater than 45 points in three conference wins last week. AHS battled a scrappy Madison team in Marshall and emerged with a 50-44 win on Tuesday, Feb. 4. The next night, the Vikings traveled to Hendersonville, avenging four losses to the Bearcats from a season ago with a 61-44 win to clinch the 2013-14 Western Highlands Conference boys basketball regular-season championship.

Avery finished its three-game road trip with its final regular-season road game, as it bussed to Burnsville and busted the Cougars’ hopes of an upset on its Senior Night, as Avery earned a 58-45 win.

Avery 50, Madison 44

The Vikings jumped out to an early lead against the Patriots, lost the lead by halftime, but used a strong third quarter to regain an edge it never relinquished in securing a hard-fought win.

Avery built a 15-5 lead after one period, as Luke Wotell scored three baskets and James Stewart added four points to go with three-point baskets from Chance Watson and Jacob Waldroop. The offense dried up for the Big Red in the second quarter, however, scoring just seven points in eight minutes. Madison heated up offensively to the tune of 17 points in the frame, knotting the game at 22 points apiece at halftime.

As the third period unfolded, AHS regained a measure of offensive punch, primarily at the hands of Wotell, who drained a pair of three-point baskets and another field goal for eight points in the quarter. Buckets off the bench from Luke Crowe and Dylan Bauer helped propel Avery to a 39-33 lead after three quarters.

Madison’s Dylan Hilemon sank a pair of three-point baskets as the Patriots drew to within three points in the final two minutes, but the Vikings held off MHS at the foul line, making 9-of-12 free throws through the game’s closing minutes to preserve the Avery victory.

Wotell led the way for the Vikings with 16 points, with 13 points from Stewart and nine points from Waldroop.

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to 

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