The Granite Bears came back from a 10-point deficit, but couldn’t pull out the win against West Stokes.
The visiting Wildcats led 21-11 in the second quarter, but Mount Airy chipped away at the lead before finally going ahead on the fourth three-pointer by Dylan Gallimore at the start of the fourth quarter.
That made it 47-46, but West Stokes scored 20 more points for a 66-62 win.
“It went back and forth for a long time,” said Coach Levi Goins. “At the end of the game, we missed a shot here and there.”
Meanwhile, West Stokes found ways to execute its offense. “Especially Grayson Cobb; he had eight points in the fourth quarter.”
In the final minute, the Bears were forced to foul, and the Cats made enough to win.
At the start of the game, neither team was scoring very well, but West Stokes did manage to draw several fouls on Mount Airy.
Clay Mounce and Caleb Horton each went to the bench with two quick fouls.
Sihem Smith came off the bench and was whistled quickly for two fouls on bang-bang plays. One was a blocking call, and the other was a charge.
At the 2:00 mark of the first quarter, Mount Airy had been called for seven fouls, and West Stokes just one.
The Wildcats led 12-6 at the end of the first.
“We scored 40 points in the second half, but that six points in the first really hurt,” said Goins. “I’m waiting for intensity for 32 minutes.”
The lead reached 21-11, but in the final 3:18 of the first half, the Bears outscored the Cats 11-6. That cut the margin to 27-22.
Carson Mounce scored twice at the start of the third quarter, but West Stokes drew three straight shooting fouls to go back up by double digits at 36-26.
Gallimore then drove the left side of the lane for a layup and hit two 3-pointers as Mount Airy started to pick up momentum on offense.
Carson Mounce scored twice inside and converted two free throws to cut the lead to 46-40.
Then Smith scored in transition to make it 46-42 at the end of the third.
Gallimore set a new career high when he hit a fourth three to open the final period, giving him 14 points on the night.
Gallimore and Carson Mounce scored 14 each. Horton scored 12, Khaileel Dailey and Smith eight each, Clay Mounce five and Isiah Simmons one.
“At times, we really like who we are,” said Goins. “Sihem had eight points off the bench and created a lot of that energy we had to come back.”
Still, in crunch time, he said, “We’re not converting on the big plays. We have players making obvious mental errors at crucial times.”
The Bears (4-3) will have a quick opportunity to get that bad taste out of their mouths tonight as they play Atkins (0-7) at home.