BOONVILLE — In the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Championship game, the Starmount Rams hosted Wilkes Central in a game that saw four quarters of tough play. On offense, the Rams were led by Tavis Bridges with 16 points, and Griffin Cass helped out on defense with nine rebounds. The offensive play was paired with defensive powers of the Rams, but things didn’t come to fruition as Wilkes Central was able to pull away late in the fourth quarter to earn a 59-54 win.
Starmount put up double digits in every quarter but the third. In the first quarter, the Rams outscored Wilkes Central 15-10. Wilkes Central had a 5-3 lead early in the quarter, but the Rams didn’t let the Eagles pull away. Eric Wiles stepped up to the charity stripe and knocked down both of his free throws to tie the game 5-5. Wilkes Central put up a three-point shot on its next offensive play, but once again the Rams answered back.
Wiles knocked in a two-point shot with a lay-up, and then Ethan Barnes put up another point in the paint for a 9-8 Starmount lead. The Rams started to gain momentum as Cass put up a free-throw, and Tavis Bridges put up a basket. Starmount went on a scoring run to take a 12-8 lead over Wilkes Central. The Eagles were able to put up an additional basket before the quarter was over, but the Rams answered back to that basket with a three-pointer by Barnes.
Starmount was able to extend its lead in the second quarter as Barnes started off with a two-point shot from the key. The bask-and-forth momentum started to pick up on both sides as Wilkes Central was able to pull within one point with less than three minutes left in the second quarter.
Wilkes Central knocked in a three-point shot to take a 30-28 lead, but the Rams answered back yet again as Bridges made both of his free-throws to tie the game. As time was running out, Wilkes Central knocked in a shot right at the buzzer to take a 32-30 lead over Starmount.
In the final two quarters, Wilkes Central outscored Starmount 27-24. It was a close game throughout the third and fourth quarters, as both teams were fighting hard for the championship. The Eagles took the lead in the third quarter, and never gave up the tying basket to the Rams. Wilkes Central held on to a 46-38 at the end of the third quarter, but the Rams were not out of it yet.
In the final quarter, Starmount pulled within three points of the Eagles as Bridges put up a two-pointer to make the score 57-54. It was the closest the Rams were able to come to tying the game, as the Eagles held on to take a 59-54 win over Starmount.
Next on the agenda for the Rams is the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Playoffs. Starmount has a first-round bye and will have to wait to see who they will face off against in the second round.
T. Bridges – 16 points and 8 rebounds
E. Barnes – 11 points and 4 rebounds
G. Cass – 10 points and 9 rebounds
E. Wiles – 10 points and 6 rebounds
T. Dezern – 5 points and 3 rebounds
C. Smythers – 2 points and 3 rebounds