The Hickory women’s Basketball team seldom loses a game. They almost never end up on the wrong end of a rout. Both happened Saturday !
In a brunch game that began at 11am, the visitors from Alexander County made a statement winning the regular season finale by 15 and leading by as many as 30. The game was scheduled for earlier in the week but cancelled when Hickory refused to play because of what they cited as COVID-19 concerns. The Alexander Central men’s team had been deemed in close contact which saw their season end. Although the Lady Cougars were not considered to be exposed to the coronavirus, the game was not played. Alexander Central’s administration forwarded the cancellation to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and on Thursday, the association ruled that the game should be played.
Plying with the motivation of game being cancelled and later rescheduled, ACHS jumped out to a 20-5 lead after the first period and never trailed. Four Lady Cougars scored in double figures led by Nikki Hagy with 19 to go along with 15 rebounds. Gracie Harrington added 17, Chesney Stikeleather 11, and Sydney Hayes 10. The victory puts the record for Alexander Central at 11-3 and 8-3 in Northwestern Conference play. Hickory completes the regular season at 8-2 and 7-2 in league play.
AC coach Jon Presnell said after the game, “This was a special win for our girls, they were motivated, maybe a little angry, and they took it to them , I’m so proud for them”
Hickory will place 2nd in the league based on their 7-2 regular season winning percentage being slightly higher than the Lady Cougar’s 8-3. Freedom who went undefeated will get the automatic bid to the state playoffs in the 3A classification from the Northwestern Conference. ACHS and Hickory could be granted at-large bids in the post season pairings that are to be released Sunday afternoon.
According to Alexander Central Sports Information Director Jonathan Watts, the last time the Lady Cougars defeated Hickory was the 2012-2013 season. The teams split four games that year including in the Christmas Holiday Tournament and the League Championship Tournament.