Reynolds High at North Buncombe Tuesday night was a showdown on a couple of different fronts, a battle between two of the best teams in WNC and the Western Mountain Athletic 3-A Conference, and of two of the top scorers in the area and the state.
The Black Hawks prevailed on both counts.
Thanks to an explosive second half by Ren Dyer, North Buncombe pulled away from the Rockets to take an 81-71 decision to remain undefeated.
Dyer, a 6-3 junior, scored 25 of his 35 points after intermission and played a leading role in the pivotal part of the game for the Black Hawks (9-0, 6-0).
Trailing 43-34 at halftime, Reynolds (7-2, 3-2) opened the third quarter with a 14-4 run to take the lead at 48-47.
After not making a field goal in the first five-plus minutes of the period, North Buncombe answered Reynolds’ charge with 14 points in the last 2:11 to regain control for a 61-50 lead heading into the final quarter.
Dyer had 12 points in the quarter, including four baskets in the last two minutes.
“I told the guys at halftime that somebody was going to make a run coming out of the locker room, and it turned out it was Reynolds,” said North Buncombe coach Chuck Robinson, enjoying the continuation of his unblemished record in his first season as head coach.
“But I like the way we stayed calm and played through it after their run.”
Reynolds hurt itself with three straight turnovers late in the quarter, including back-to-back possessions of giving the ball back after a player was called for stepping inbounds before passing the ball in after a made basket.
“We weren’t disciplined enough to win this game,” said Reynolds coach Ryan Stevens. “Obviously that stretch in the third quarter was the difference, and we didn’t make enough stops on defense and we didn’t make the shots we needed to make.”
Dyer scored 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Black Hawks led by as many as 17 points.
Isaiah Pruett, the Reynolds point guard averaging more than 28 points a game, was stymied for much of the game by North Buncombe’s 1-3-1 zone that featured the large wingspan of the wiry Dyer running the point.
“I think their zone did throw Isaiah off,” said Stevens. “He’s usually more aggressive, and he really can’t be stopped in a man-to-man.
“And Dyer is phenomenal. He’s a great player who gives great effort, and his energy drives that team.”
Dyer finished 12-of-23 from the floor and sank 10 free throws.
Pruett had 23 points on 6-of-19 shooting, and he converted eight foul shots. He scored nine of those points in the final few minutes after the game was decided.