North Surry held an 11-point lead in the first half, but Mount Airy roared back with 16 straight points to take the lead for good in a 59-45 win.
In the first meeting two weeks ago, the Granite Bears tried to pressure the Greyhounds, but got into foul trouble early. The Bears held a slight lead at the half, but the Hounds came back to win by two.
In the rematch, the roles were reversed. North held a lead at the break, and Mount Airy made the comeback.
North coach Kevin King said he thought his team came out tentative at the start and felt fortunate to only be down 6-2 after the first two and a half minutes.
The Bears led 8-4 when North began to click offensively and ended the period with a 12-4 spurt.
Marcus Sawyers carried the Hounds at the start, scoring eight of their first 13 points.
A Brady Watts three gave the Hounds a 19-12 lead, then they stretched that to 26-15 with 3:39 left in the half.
“That was a very tough point in the game,” said Bear coach Levi Goins. But it was also the turning point.
Center Carson Mounce was fatigued from chasing North Surry’s players on defense, said Goins, which caused him to miss a couple of shots he normally makes.
Sending in a few reserves helped provide some needed energy, and the Bears scored the last five points of the half to be behind 26-20.
“I thought we had a really good second quarter until the last three possessions,” said King. “There’s no way we should have walked off the floor not up nine or 10 points.” With a very young team, inexperience often leads to bad decisions.
North Surry gave Mount Airy the momentum going into the half, which turned out to be the difference in the game, he said.
That 5-0 finish to the second quarter was followed by the Bears scoring the first 11 points of the second half. That put Mount Airy ahead 31-26.
“They played with a lot more poise,” King said of the Bears. “They were much stronger with the basketball.” Once the Bears were able to dictate pace and pressure the ball, it was like feeding a piranha, he said.
North was able to score twice to cut the lead to 31-30, but Mount Airy responded with another run of 9-0 to take a double-digit lead.
The score was 40-33 at the end of the third quarter, and Mount Airy would pull away for a 14-point win.
Speaking of that push between the second and third quarters, Goins said, “That was the first time all season we responded like that.” The team has made runs in games, but usually when it is close or the Bears are ahead, he explained. This resurgence came when the team was down.
Khaileel Dailey and Caleb Horton led the third-quarter push, two team leaders inspiring the team by example, Goins believed.
Dailey had eight of his game-high 20 points in the period, and Horton nine of his 13.
Isiah Simmons added nine points, Clay and Carson Mounce five each, Dylan Gallimore three, Justin Ward and Sihem Smith two each.
Goins said he was impressed with how well North Surry defended Carson, holding him to five points.
For North, Marcus Sawyers had eight of his 16 points in the first six minutes of the game.
Tanner Hodgin scored 11, Brady Watts eight, Carter Phillips three and Kendal Tucker two.
King said his team has to be tougher with the ball against the press. If a team is going to apply pressure, then North needs to draw fouls, he said, and his team never got into the bonus in the second half.
Both teams are off until Friday when they take part in the two-day Mount Airy Christmas Classic.