The Lady Bears greeted their Australian guests with a barrage of outside shooting and fast-break layups in a 77-38 win Friday.
The Bears hosted the Horizon Sporting Events team from Down Under in the first game of the two-day Mount Airy Christmas Classic.
Mount Airy’s Alex Atkins scored twice inside at the start, then tickled the nets from the outside to the tune of six first-quarter baskets and 13 points. She finished with a game-high 25 points.
The Lady Dolphins scored the first basket of the game, then the Bears went on a 12-2 run and led 25-12 after one quarter.
Davi Barbour scored six points in the second quarter and was part of the defensive pressure that forced the Dolphins into several turnovers.
By halftime, the Bears were up 47-22.
There are some differences in the American style and what the Australians are used to, noted HSE coach David Roberts.
The girls don’t have a five-second closely guarded rule, and in general defenses aren’t as tight and as physical as what the Dolphins saw from Mount Airy, he said.
Early in the game, Roberts tried to press the Bears and created a couple of turnovers, but the Bears began to wear down the jet-lagged Dolphins and get easy baskets in transition.
The Australian contingent only arrived in Charlotte at 9 a.m. Thursday morning after the extensive travel time.
While he would have liked a better showing against Mount Airy, Roberts noted that this team is made up of girls from several school systems in Victoria and New South Wales who have never played together before.
Most of these girls had never met until they arrived at the airport, he said.
In the third quarter, the Bears gave the Australians a taste of what local teams have faced as four of their eight field goals came from long range.
Mount Airy took the quarter 21-6 and led by 40 points.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the lead reached 43 at 73-30 before the Bears coasted to the finish line.
The Bears finished with 10 three-pointers, while the Dolphins made only one.
Mount Airy (11-0) shot only eight foul shots, but made seven, which is 87.5 percent.
“I thought we did a good job forcing tempo early,” said Bears coach Howard Mayo. When the Dolphins tried to pressure back, Mayo noted, “We have a team where multiple people can handle the ball well.”
The bench provided 12 points, led by Alexis France with five points and a team-high nine rebounds.
As a team, the Bears had 28 assists, led by Mikayla Seivers with 10. Seivers also tied for the team lead with three steals along with Ayano Shelton and Jasmine Varney.
Roberts said this is the eighth time he has coached a travel team for Horizon, and he’s visited the states a couple of times already.
The players were very excited at the prospect of seeing an NBA game, so as soon as the boys’ game ended, the group jumped on their bus to head back to Charlotte to watch the Bobcats take on all-star Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Australians will be back today to take on North Surry’s varsity teams.
After the Bears play their games, senior Kathryn Beasley is inviting the visitors to her family’s house for a bonfire and a chance to get to know each other.
The Lady Bears play at 4:30 p.m. against Martinsville.
25 22 21 9 = 77 M.A.
12 10 6 10 = 38 H.S.E.
Mount Airy: Alex Atkins 25, Ayano Shelton 17, Davi Barbour 13, Jasmine Varney 7, Alexis France 5, Carley Vanhoy 4, Mikayla Seivers 3, Skyler Flippen 3
HSE Dolphins: Oliva-Jane Frost 15, Lilly Bosse 7, Rebecca Polizzi 6, Eliza Ormsby 4, Tasma Horton 2, Eden Bourke 2