By Lance Hickey
NBHS – A slow Erwin start combined with a rapid-firing North Buncombe offense helped the BlackHawks earn a dominating 88-58 victory against an athletic, high-charging Warrior squad Tuesday evening (Dec. 18th).
North Buncombe struck first as Malachi Hammond connected on a field goal for the game’s first points with 35 seconds gone in the first quarter as the BlackHawks took an early two-point lead. Erwin responded on the Warriors’ next possession on a Kobe Ball put-back rebound and finish.
North Buncombe quickly took back the lead on a Micah Wilson free throw and a Hammond lay-in. Erwin’s Simeon Thompson had another for the Warriors going hard into the lane for a swift finish as the BlackHawks maintained a 6-4 lead.
North Buncombe continued its surge on a Jack Ritchie three pointer with 3:50 remaining in the opening quarter. The BlackHawks took a 11-4 lead. Wilson had a stellar first period converting on three more field goals. Erwin, plagued by a litany of turnovers, struggled to keep pace. North Buncombe held a 28-10 edge at the end of the quarter.
Erwin began the second period hot. The Warriors converted on their first two possessions following a put-back by Tristian Brank as Erwin reduced the BlackHawk lead to a 16-point advantage. North Buncombe continued to find answers.
Three-point field goals by Ritchie and Ren Dyer helped North Buncombe expand its lead at 41-20 with just under four minutes remaining in the half. A Rashod Chaffin acrobatic finish, free throws and three pointer helped Erwin work to keep pace with the BlackHawks, though North Buncombe would hold a 51-34 halftime advantage.
The second half proved to be much of the same as the BlackHawks continued their hot shooting. A three pointer by JT Laws pushed North Buncombe’s lead to 22 at 58-36. A Ritchie shifty runner and another three-pointer, adding to a Dyer trifecta gave North Buncombe a 69-38 lead. Dyer finished the game with 19 points while Ritchie added 18 points. Chaffin led the way for the Warriors with another 18 points.
Erwin’s Chaffin, Ball and Thompson continued to push for a Warrior comeback, but the BlackHawks would not let up. North Buncombe’s size evidenced to be a tremendous advantage for the BlackHawks against a notoriously athletic Warrior squad.
North Buncombe (5-2) would go on to win 88-58 in front of a raucous sellout Weaverville crowd. The BlackHawks and the Warriors will continue their rivalry matchup at Erwin (4-2) on January 25. The late-season matchup could be vital for both teams for possible playoff positioning.