Avery’s Wednesday Evening Match-ups

(Courtesy Avery Athletic Department)

Avery High School Boys and Girls have advanced to the second round of the state basketball championships.  The Boys will start at 6:00pm @ Nantahala High School and the Girls will start at 6:00pm @ Hiwassee Dam High School.
Directions:
Hiwassee Dam High School
Approx.  193 miles       4 hours and 22 minutes
Hiwassee Dam High School
267 Blue Eagle Circle
Murphy, NC 28906
Hiwassee Dam is approximately 140 miles west of Asheville. Follow I-40 W past the Canton exit and take Exit 27.  Exit 27 merges with US 23/74 west; follow 23S/74W past Sylva, Bryson City, Nantahala Gorge, Topton, and Andrews, to Murphy. Proceed west on 74/129.  Turn right on Hwy 294 approximately 10 miles west of Murphy.  Follow Hwy 294 for approximately 8 miles and turn left into the school driveway.  Visitor parking is located in the front of the building.
Nantahala High School
Approx. 146 miles    3 hours and 5 minutes
Nantahala High School
213 Winding Stairs Rd
Topton, NC 28781
Take I-40 West past Asheville.  Follow I-40 W past the Canton exit and take Exit 27.  Exit 27 merges with US 23/74 west; follow 23S/74W past Sylva, Bryson City, Nantahala Gorge, Topton, and Andrews, to Murphy.  Turn right at W. Hwy 19/Us-19 S/US-74 W.  Continue to follow US-19 S/US-74 W for approx. 7.7 miles.  Turn left a Wayah Rd and continue for approx. 4.5 miles.  Turn left at Winding Stairs Rd.  Nantahala High School will be on the right.
Avery High School Boys and Girls have advanced to the second round of the state basketball championships.  The Boys will start at 6:00pm @ Nantahala High School and the Girls will start at 6:00pm @ Hiwassee Dam High School.
Directions:
Hiwassee Dam High School            Approx.  193 miles       4 hours and 22 minutes
Hiwassee Dam High School
267 Blue Eagle Circle
Murphy, NC 28906
Hiwassee Dam is approximately 140 miles west of Asheville. Follow I-40 W past the Canton exit and take Exit 27.  Exit 27 merges with US 23/74 west; follow 23S/74W past Sylva, Bryson City, Nantahala Gorge, Topton, and Andrews, to Murphy. Proceed west on 74/129.  Turn right on Hwy 294 approximately 10 miles west of Murphy.  Follow Hwy 294 for approximately 8 miles and turn left into the school driveway.  Visitor parking is located in the front of the building.
Nantahala High School             Approx. 146 miles    3 hours and 5 minutes
Nantahala High School
213 Winding Stairs Rd
Topton, NC 28781
Take I-40 West past Asheville.  Follow I-40 W past the Canton exit and take Exit 27.  Exit 27 merges with US 23/74 west; follow 23S/74W past Sylva, Bryson City, Nantahala Gorge, Topton, and Andrews, to Murphy.  Turn right at W. Hwy 19/Us-19 S/US-74 W.  Continue to follow US-19 S/US-74 W for approx. 7.7 miles.  Turn left a Wayah Rd and continue for approx. 4.5 miles.  Turn left at Winding Stairs Rd.  Nantahala High School will be on the right.

Viking Weekend Update

Viking Basketball:

The Avery Viking Basketball teams competed in the Western Highlands Conference Tournament over the end of last week, with both teams falling to Mitchell in their tournament run.  The Viking Men fell on Thursday evening in a heartbreaking loss to Mitchell.  Thomas Buchanan dropped 38 points for the Mountaineers, while Dustin Clarke and Dylan Eppley combined for 46 points in the 78-74 loss at Owen Middle School.
The Lady Vikings fell in a tough contest with the Lady Mountaineers in Friday evening’s championship contest.  Lyndsey Jensen and Lakin Norris combined for 43 of the Lady Mountaineer’s 59 points, and they rolled to a 59-48 victory at Owen High School.
The NCHSAA Playoff bracket was set on Saturday, setting up a Monday double-header at Avery High.  The Lady Vikings will begin their quest with the Elkin Lady Bucking Elks at 5 PM in Viking Gymnasium.  Elkin enters the tournament as the #3 seed from the Mountain Valley Conference.  In Men’s action, the Vikings will host a rematch with #3 MVC seed West Wilkes.

Viking Wrestling:

Brock Yackey and CJ Vance battled their way into the NCHSAA Wrestling Tournament which will take place next weekend in Greensboro.  Yackey earned the Western Regional Championship at the 119 lb weight class with a 7-5 victory over #1 seed J.J. LaPlante from West Wilkes.  The 119 championship was likely one of the most exciting matches of the evening, with Yackey earning the victory with a reversal with four seconds remaining in the match.
Vance earned his way in, wrestling back through the consolation bracket, defeating Nick Brooks of Mitchell in the Consolation Semifinal 7-3 to seal his spot in the State Tournament.  Vance wrestled tough through the weekend, going 4-2 and earning a fourth place nod.  Congratulations to all Viking wrestlers that competed at the Regional level, and good luck to Yackey and Vance next weekend!

WHC Tournament Finals Tonight!

Tonight’s schedule for the Western Highlands Conference Tournament is as follows:

4 PM – 2A Girls – #1 Owen vs #3 Madison
5:15 PM – 1A Boys – #1 Hendersonville vs #3 Mitchell
6:30 PM – 1A Girls- #1 Mitchell vs #2 Avery
8 PM – 2A Boys – #1 Heritage vs #2 Madison

In the 2A there were four great contests last night, Madison squeaked by Polk 60-57 and Heritage needed overtime to overtake Owen 53-49.  Owens girls easily disposed of Polk in ladies action, and Madison won a thriller, defeating Heritage by two.

In the 1A both Avery and Mitchell’s girls suffered from long layoffs in the first round, getting stern tests from Hendersonville and Thomas Jefferson; setting up the top two girls teams in conference for a head-to-head battle tonight.  Hendersonville easily disposed of Thomas Jefferson in men’s action, and Mitchell won a thriller with Avery in a contest where Thomas Buchanan scored a career-high 38 points.

WHC Tournament Schedule Change

The WHC has changed around their first round contests in the 1A bracket at Owen Middle School.  The NEW schedule for this evening is as follows…

Thurs. @ Owen Middle School (Located across the street from the High School entrance:

1A Girls – 4 PM – #2 Avery vs #3 Hendersonville
1A Boys – 5:30 PM – #2 Avery vs #3 Mitchell
1A Girls – 7 PM – #1 Mitchell vs #4 Thomas Jefferson
1A Boys – 8:30 PM #1 Hendersonville vs #4 Thomas Jefferson

Fri. @ Owen High School:

1A Boys – 5:30 PM –  Winners Avery/Mitchell vs Hendersonville/TJCA
1A Girls – 7 PM – Winners Avery/Hendersonville vs Mitchell/TJCA

WHC Tourney Schedule Released – Awaiting Monday’s Games for final seeding

Final seeding is not yet set, but the WHC released tournament brackets over the weekend.  We’ll pass along the Avery seeds and times as soon as everything is final.  Here are the brackets as they sit at this time:

Western Highlands Conference
All games at Owen
BOYS
Wednesday’s games

No. 1 vs. No. 8, 4 p.m.
No. 2 vs. No. 7, 5:30 p.m.
No. 3 vs. No. 6, 7 p.m.
No. 4 vs. No. 5, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday’s games
No. 1-No. 8 winner vs. No. 4-No. 5 winner, 7 p.m.
No. 2-No. 7 winner vs. No. 3-No. 6 winner, 8:30 p.m.
Friday’s game
Championship, 8:30 p.m.

GIRLS
Tuesday’s games

No. 1 vs. No. 8, 4 p.m.
No. 2 vs. No. 7, 5:30 p.m.
No. 3 vs. No. 6, 7 p.m.
No. 4 vs. No. 5, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday’s games
No. 1-No. 8 winner vs. No. 4-No. 5 winner, 4 p.m.
No. 2-No. 7 winner vs. No. 3-No. 6 winner, 5:30 p.m.
Friday’s game
Championship, 7 p.m.

Yackey Wins Third Straight Conference Title

Yackey works for back points in the finals match-up witn J.J. Davis of Madison (Phillip Greene Photo)

Drive.  Something junior Brock Yackey knows a little about.

Yackey has a competitive spirit, and spending just a couple of minutes with him, you can see that his drive and determination are contagious.  You could say he gets it honest, coming from a very driven family; but Yackey also has something that can’t be taught in the practice room: heart.

Brock’s competitive spirit drives him to give 110% no matter what he is doing. Whether on the soccer field, where Yackey earned an all-conference bid; in the classroom, where Brock has earned accolades for his academic performance; or on the wrestling mat, Yackey is not the type to concede quickly.

Yackey with the Viking Coaching staff following his victory at 119 in the WHC tournament (Phillip Greene Photo)

“He’s a great leader,” stated Head Wrestling Coach Stacey Clark.  “He’s one of those kids you can put your confidence in.  On a number of occasions [Brock] has taken time out of his practice to make sure one of the younger guys in the room understands what we’re trying to accomplish.  He has an outstanding work ethic.”

Brock began his career at Avery a little shaky, but began to shine midway through his freshman season, battling his way to the 112 lb conference championship.  Yackey followed that season with a stellar sophomore campaign, again earning the conference title at 112, and battling his way into the NCHSAA 1A/2A State Tournament.  This season, Yackey set his standards higher, not only wanting to earn a bid for the State Tournament, but to grasp that elusive State Championship.

“A State Championship is my ultimate goal,” explained Yackey.  “It would be great to win just one, but I would love to finish up my career with two.”

This season started a little slower than the last two for Yackey.  Due to growth, Brock started the season competing in the 130 lb weight class, but was determined to get to his minimal weight allowed by the state.  He achieved that weight a couple weeks back, getting down to the 119 weight class and causing a mix-up among conference foes as they scattered to avoid facing him in the conference tournament.

“It’s a sign of respect,” explained Clark, “when you have guys who respect you enough to bump away from you, it shows what kind of wrestler you are.  A couple of kids were willing to test a heavier weight-class just to avoid facing Brock.”

Yackey entered the tournament as the one seed, an honor he earned in a classic battle with J.J. Davis on Tuesday evening when the Vikings traveled to Madison to wrap up their regular season.  Davis took an early lead, and seemed to have worn down Brock as the match carried on; but Brock proved he wasn’t finished.  Late in the bout, Yackey put on a clinic, battling his way from a 10-5 deficit taking down Davis four times in the final period to even the match at 13-13 and send it into overtime.  In the overtime period Yackey would earn his fifth takedown to seal the win at 15-13.

Due to the bumping that took place, as well as a lucky draw, Yackey only needed to win one match to earn a spot in the finals.  Brock pinned his opponent to move forward, and set up a rematch with Davis for the conference title.

Brock wasted no time in taking the early advantage, and his quickness and determination paid off, earning a major decision over Davis to clinch his third straight conference championship.

“I made some adjustments over the past week,” stated Yackey, “I learned some of his tendencies during the match on Tuesday, as well as seeing some of the same moves in his first round match today.  I applied that to the game plan and was able to counter defensively and pickup the takedowns in the final.

“Another thing that helped in preparation for today was Coach Puckett’s advice,” continued Yackey.  “Coach noticed something about my warm-up that wasn’t quite right, and mentioned that today I needed to break a sweat before taking the mat; he said I looked as if I wasn’t fully warmed up until the third period on Tuesday.  I don’t know if I did anything differently, but with only three of us coming, I had to warm up with Lucas [Lecka – 215] and CJ [Vance – 160].  Just the difference in weight forced me to break a sweat, but helped me to be loose entering the match, and kept me focused on the task at hand.”

CJ Vance, Brock Yackey and Lucas Lecka traveled to Owen to take part in the WHC Tournament on Saturday (Phillip Greene Photo)

Lecka battled his way to a third place finish, winning his final bout in the consolation finals 4-1 to earn a medal.  Vance had the toughest draw of the Vikings, winning one of three to finish just outside of medal contention.

The Viking wrestlers will begin their run at the 1A State Tournament in the Western Regional, slated to begin on Friday, February 20.

Paint it Red (or Black) on Senior Night!

Senior Night at Avery High was postponed due to inclement weather in the area.  Due to the postponement of the Avery/Mitchell contests, Friday evening’s contest with West Wilkes has been bumped to make room for the Conference finale with the Mountaineers.  The West Wilkes contest will not be made up.  JV Girls will get underway at 4 PM on Friday, February 12.