The Wildcats (10-3) have had a successful start to the basketball season and remain 5-0 in the conference. As one of the top teams in the conference, it is not surprising that West Stokes is home to some of the top shooters in the conference.
Sophomore Zach Hartle is the top free throw shooter for the Wildcats this season and one of the best free throw shooters in the conference. Through the end of December, Hartle was shooting about 82 percent (22-27) from the charity stripe.
Hartle’s record was just below North Surry’s Grayson Vernon — the conference free throw leader — who was shooting about 83 percent. Wildcat Josh Spainhour was trailing Hartle’s free-throw line record at 71 percent, but has racked up more free throws this season (57-80).
For Coach Dan Spainhour, free throws are easy baskets that can often give teams the extra push needed to a win a game.
“Having good free throw shooters can be the difference between winning and losing,” Spainhour said. “The important thing is to get to the line. A goal of ours each year is to make more free throws than our opponents attempt. So far we are doing that.”
But, Hartle won’t be lifting his team on free throws for the next few weeks. In a recent practice, he got a stress fracture in his foot that will have him sidelined for at least three weeks, Coach Spainhour said.
“It is a big injury,” he said. “It makes us smaller and changes us.”
Standing on crutches last Friday night at North Stokes High School, Hartle said it will be hard not getting to play alongside his teammates for a few weeks.
“It’s tough to think about,” he said.
Nevertheless, Hartle said that he will be on the sideline cheering for his team.
Coach Spainhour said that Grayson Cobb will likely step in to fill the hole left by Hartle.
While the Wildcats will miss Hartle in the coming weeks, there are several players that will help guide the team.
Josh Spainhour and Alston Furr have topped 200 points this season and are averaging 16 points a game. Post player Reid Goodson has well over 100 points this season and is averaging about 12 points a game.
According to MaxPreps.com, Reid, Goodson and Spainhour are some of the top shooters in the conference.
“Reid, Josh, and Alston form our tri-pod and are critical to the success of our team, both offensively and defensively,” Spainhour said.
In the coming weeks, Spainhour said that he will be focusing on getting his team to improve defensively in order to go far this season. He will also be bringing in some play from the bench that will give the team great “depth” on the court.