RONDA — After a rough start to the 2017-2018 season, the Elkin Buckin’ Elks seemed to have turned their season around. On Friday night, Elkin (2-14, 1-6) traveled the short distance to Ronda to take on East Wilkes (0-16, 0-7) in a Mountain Valley Athletic Conference showdown.
Elkin took control in the first quarter and never gave the Cardinals a chance to get back in the game. Elkin was able to take its first MVAC win of the season with a 73-59 win over East Wilkes.
“I think we played great. That’s the most focused we’ve came into a game,” said Elkin head coach Marcus Wilmoth. “We executed our stuff, and when we do that, we get good looks at the basket and we score. I think that they were ready to play because they had exams all week. They hadn’t played in awhile so they were ready to come out and show what they could do.”
Elkin came out in the first quarter and proved it was going to put on a show. Austin Longworth made the first shot of the night as he used his height to his advantage in driving to the basket for a lay-up. On Elkin’s next possession, Tevin Harris set up on the outside and knocked down a three-point shot. The Buckin’ Elks kept shooting shot after shot, and the Cardinals tried to defend a hungry Elkin team.
Ben Longbottom was able to cut off Elkin’s scoring run as he knocked in a three-pointer from beyond the arc. With the score sitting 5-3, Elkin once again went on a scoring run. Shane Price put in a three-point shot, which was followed up with two baskets by Harris, and a shot by Maston Renegar. Elkin was hanging on to a 13-3 lead before East Wilkes was able to put up its second basket of the night.
Zach Lovette was fouled and knocked in both of his free throws to cut Elkin’s lead, 13-5. Before the quarter was up, Longworth and Nathan Brown each put up a shot for Elkin. Brandon Church was able to come up with another East Wilkes basket to end the first quarter. Elkin had put up a successful first quarter to take an 18-7 lead over East Wilkes.
Elkin was able to continue its scoring run in the second quarter, and the Cardinals were able to stick with them. East Wilkes put up 14 points, while Elkin put up 15. At one point in the second quarter, Price knocked in a three-point basket then followed it up with a lay-up to give Elkin a 25-10 lead and put the Elkin fans on their feet.
On the court, Elkin was able to draw off of the momentum of the crowd to keep putting up shots. Tanner Sturdivant gave Elkin a 30-21 lead, then Harris put in a three-pointer for a 33-21 lead. As the second quarter came to a close, Elkin had completed a successful first half and took a 33-21 lead going into halftime.
Elkin kept grinding when it came out of halftime, and put the Cardinals on their heels. The Buckin’ Elks put up 20 points and held East Wilkes to just 10. In the fourth quarter, East Wilkes was able to outscore Elkin 28-20, but the damage already had been done. Elkin was able to hang on to take a 73-59 MVAC win over the Cardinals.
The Buckin’ Elks came into the game against East Wilkes on a four-game losing streak. Before the win over Christmas, Elkin hadn’t won a game since 2016. Things seem to be turning around for the Buckin’ Elks, and Wilmoth agreed.
“I think our tone was actually set at the Christmas Tournament,” said Wilmoth. “We got our first win in awhile and even the games that we lost we did some good stuff. Against North Wilkes last week we guarded the best we have guarded all year long. We hit shots against North Wilkes, but we also hit shots tonight which I thought was the difference. I think our turning point was Christmas.”
East Wilkes hosted Wilkes Central on Tuesday night, while Elkin hosted Alleghany. Results were not available by press deadline. On Friday night, Elkin will host Starmount (12-2, 6-1) and East Wilkes will host North Wilkes (9-7, 5-2).
S. Price – 22 points and 3 rebounds
T. Harris – 16 points and 2 rebounds
A. Longworth – 15 points and 12 rebounds
J. Mayes – 9 points and 5 rebounds
Brown – 3 points
T. Sturdivant – 2 points and 1 rebound
Loredo – 2 points and 4 rebounds
M. Renegar – 2 points
B. Burgess – 2 points and 3 rebounds
East Wilkes stats:
B. Vestal – 25 points and 4 rebounds
Longbottom – 11 points and 3 rebounds
T. Lambert – 6 points and 3 rebounds
Slaters – 4 points and 6 rebounds
Speaks – 4 points and 2 rebounds
Lovette – 4 points and 1 rebound
Lytton – 2 points
Church – 2 points and 1 rebound
Sidden – 1 point and 1 rebound