Lady Hawks, Jet Boys Inch Closer to Reynolds - TribPapers

Lady Hawks, Jet Boys Inch Closer to Reynolds

Karlyn Pickens of North Buncombe drives by Enka’s Hadleigh Dill, in a matchup of superstars.

Weaverville – North Buncombe Lady Hawks and Enka Jet boys were huge winners Jan. 19 when the two schools collided in varsity basketball.

Both solidified second place in the Mountain Athletic Conference, close behind A.C. Reynolds squads unbeaten in MAC games.

In girls’ play, A.C. Reynolds (12-2; 4-0) remains first. But North Buncombe (9-4; 3-1 MAC) closed to within one game, after walloping reigning MAC champ Enka (7-9; 2-3) by 55-39 at home Wednesday, Jan. 19. That was among few games played in a snowy last week. The Lady Hawks led by 20 at 44-24 after three periods.

Reynolds handed NBHS its sole MAC defeat — winning 72-62 in mid-December. The rematch was to be last Friday, when all MAC games were postponed due to a snowy forecast. Reynolds, idled for over a week, instead hosts North Buncombe Thursday, Feb. 3. NBHS’s game at Erwin (9-4; 2-1) was moved from Jan. 18 to Monday, Jan. 31.

‘Team Effort’

Lady Hawks head coach Tami Ramsey called the Enka conquest a “whole team effort.”

Enka fell to 7-9 including 2-3 in MAC play. “Enka is a very respectable team” with star power, Karlyn Pickens said. “We know we have to give it our all, and work together as a team.”

Hadleigh Dill, a junior, and senior Pickens guarded one other in a fierce battle of six-footers. They often neutralized each other. Athletic six-foot-one Pickens averages 17.2 points, ten rebounds and 3.15 blocks. Her counterpart Dill tallies 16.7 points and 9.6 rebounds. Stocky Enka senior Bentlee Chockley averages 20 points and 7.6 boards.

Dill bulked up from last season. Pickens is also stronger, her coach noted. “She’s grown. She’s in the weight room. She doesn’t mind the physicality in the paint. “

Pickens among others “missed shots we normally make” against Enka. “We were just out of quarantine” and rusty, Ramsey said. “She normally makes those turnaround jump shots.” Ramsey emphasized how Pickens helped in many other ways. “She crashed the offensive boards, boxed off on defense, and blocked shots.”

Routinely, “other teams will zone her. She has at minimum three girls digging at the ball at once, every time she catches the ball.”

Yet Pickens is very “unselfish,” Coach Ramsey said. “She doesn’t force shots. She kicks it out to teammates.

NBHS Black Hawk sharpshooter Chad Clark (3) scored 42 points Friday, hitting a Hawk record ten three pointers. Enka defenders include Jacob Tiller (15) and center Ian Clinkscales-King (33) Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Lady Hawks Step Up

Rather than rely on Pickens, the Lady Hawk scoring was spread out against Enka. “Other girls stepped up,” Coach Ramsey said. “We’re best as a set shooting team — not as much taking three-pointers, or shooting off the dribble.”

Pressley Laws scored 11. She provides 4.0 assists and 8.8 points per contest. She fires up and makes the most three-pointers — 1.8 per game on 35 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Sophomore Eden Barnwell also scored 11, which is double her average. She starts and is a “defensive stopper,” often assigned to the foes’ top scorer, Ramsey noted. Barnwell is plus four in steals in 2021-22.

Freshman starting point guard Kadence Penley scored nine points.

NBHS gets solid contributions from its other two seniors — lead sub Alison Childress and lanky Sam Davis — and Sam’s sister Devon Davis, a junior. The sisters start. “Devon and Sam can shoot threes, or attack the basket,” Coach Ramsey said. Brittany Parnell hauls in 6.4 rebounds. Matti Bost is also a junior.

The character of this squad mirrors Pickens and other seniors as internal with intensity and outwardly subdued, Coach Ramsey said. “Karlyn’s a D-1 softball player, heading to Tennessee. She maintains poise. She likes the pressure.”

The squad as a whole is “not as fiery as I’d like them to be at times,” Ramsey said. “But we have confident veterans. They’re more the focused types, who work hard and get the job done.”

This week put the Hawks at home for all three games — versus T.C. Roberson (10-3; 2-2 MAC) and Asheville (6-2; 0-2), then McDowell (5-8; 0-4) on Friday, Jan. 28.

ACR’s Barnes, Harvey

The clash at Reynolds for first place is Feb. 3. Amanda Whitaker coaches ACR. Lady Rocket leading scorer Jenna Barnes (16.3 ppg., 9.5 reb.) “posts up inside, can shoot outside, or attack the basket,” NBHS Coach Ramsey said. Landyn Stewart (8.5 reb., 6.4 ppg.) is strong inside. Julie Janus and senior Hailey Sprinkle both average eight points. “They have shooters, and a great point guard” in freshman Peyton Harvey (11.6 ppg., 4.2 rbg., 2.7 assists), Ramsey said. “She sees the floor well. They’re tough. But we’re looking to get that win at their place.”

Jacob Tiller (15) lays in a basket on a fast break for Enka against the Hawks. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Jet Boys Take Off

Enka boys (15-1; 4-1 MAC) cruised to a 100-83 victory on Jan. 19, at North Buncombe (7-7; 1-4). Coach Brian Carver’s Enka Jets led by 20 after one period at 33-13, after two quick baskets by Logan Crook. Crook tapped in a rebound of his own missed shot. Moments later, he intercepted the ball then drove in for a layup. Enka is exceptional in ball-handling and defense.

Enka’s leading scorer is Jacob Tiller (19 ppg.). He was aggressive driving to the hoop. Point guard Jacob Adair matched Crook with 22 points versus NBHS. All three are juniors. Burly 6-5 senior Ian Clinkscales-King (16.6 ppg.) led Enka with 24 points. The curly redhead is a force in the paint.

North Buncombe sharpshooter Chad Clark (MAC-best 27.1 ppg.) scored 42. The junior set a school mark by draining ten three-pointers. He routinely shot threes from behind an imaginary NBA arc — seemingly from Mars, or much closer Mars Hill.

Enka battled at Reynolds (12-4; 5-0) Tuesday, Jan. 25, hoping to tie ACR atop the MAC. Rakease Passmore (17.2 ppg.) leads the Rockets. They beat Enka 90-63 Dec. 17, and won 47-39 at defending MAC champ Roberson (9-5; 3-2) Jan. 14. Enka’s turn at Roberson is this Friday, Jan. 28. TCR and McDowell (7-6; 3-2) are tied for third.

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