‘Harveys’ Heroes’ Launch Playoff Drive as Top Seed - TribPapers

‘Harveys’ Heroes’ Launch Playoff Drive as Top Seed

Leading Lady Rocket scorer Peyton Harvey charges up the court. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Fairview – Reynolds Lady Rockets (24-1) are enjoying historic success, with the program’s most wins in a regular season ever. They are the 4A top regional seed. They annihilated West Charlotte by 59 points (76-17) at home in their playoff opener on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Center Addie Long scored a career-best 20 points to lead Reynolds.

They repeated as Mountain Athletic Conference tourney champions. They won their third straight regular-season MAC crown, going unbeaten at 12-0. Last season, they tied Asheville (24-3; 11-1 MAC) but beat the Lady Cougars in the conference tourney title game.

“I’m so incredibly proud of this team,” head coach Amanda Whitaker said.

Reynolds finished 22-5 and 22-8 in the past two seasons under Whitaker, winning two playoff games both times. The current squad already has more wins.

The dominant Lady Rockets win by an average score of 64-38, which is a whopping margin of 26 points. They won their playoff opener by 59 points, won by 51 points at Enka, and beat MAC third-place finisher Asheville by 43 points and Franklin by 41 points.

They won by 37—both over MAC runner-up McDowell (23-5; 10-2 MAC) and over 3A West Henderson, the other local (Buncombe/Henderson) girls’ team that won in round one of state playoffs. ACR’s sole defeat was to Lake Norman (24-2).

Wilsons Wonders

West Henderson (19-7; 11-1 Mtn. 7), the only Henderson County team in the postseason, demolished South Point 59-43 in round one. Kaycee Beyer coaches the Falcons. Coincidentally, both West and Reynolds are led by sister guards and have mostly non-seniors.

Jaza Wilson (14.4 PPG) scored 23 points against South Point. She sank five long three-point shots. Her twin Jania Wilson (9.1 PPG), also a junior, contributed seven assists, ten points, and five steals. Jayden Lyda (7.8 PPG) is among 11 juniors on the Lady Falcon roster.

Her brother, senior Jack Lyda, led West boys in scoring at 19.2 points. He is all-state in baseball as a shortstop and leadoff batter on the reigning 3A state champion diamond Falcons.

Star Sister Guards

Peyton Harvey scored 17 points as ACR beat second seed McDowell by 11 in the tourney finals at Reynolds. The junior has averaged double digits in scoring since starting as a freshman. Her sister Tait Harvey is a freshman, and also a guard. They lead the team in scoring. Peyton averages 13 points, and Tait averages 12. They combine for 25 of the team’s average of 64 points, which is nearly 40 percent of the offense. On defense, Peyton comes up with 2.3 steals on average.

This team is poised for a spectacular run next year as well, with merely three seniors among the 11 varsity players. The seniors are the next two high scorers in guards Julie Janus (10.5 PPG, 5 assists, 2.8 steals) and Ann Wilcox (9.0 PPG, 2.5 steals), and reserve wing Maria Eberhardt.

Last season, ACR had two senior stars up front. Towering center 6-foot-3 Jenna Barnes (13.6 PPG, 8.8 REB) was also a track sprint star. She and strong six-footer Landyn Stewart (9.2 PPG, 7.9 REB) graduated. “We pounded the ball inside, and they couldn’t match our ‘bigs,’” Coach Whitaker said after a playoff victory by that squad.

The look is now different down low, with sturdy junior Addie Long (8.8 PPG) a strong force. Adalyn Wilkinson, one of two varsity freshmen, is a lanky leaper who leads ACR in rebounding with six per game. Four other Rockets average about five boards. Wilkinson and Long tally nearly one block per contest, as Reynolds wraps up opponents on both ends of the court.