The Granite Bears went more than six minutes without a point, allowing Bishop McGuinness to build a lead it would never relinquish in a 59-49 win.
Mount Airy trailed by 14 points at the start of the fourth quarter and roared back to get within three points, but Bishop hit 5 of 6 free throws in the last minute to put the game out of reach.
The Villains spoiled Senior Night for Isaiah King, the lone 12th-grader who was honored before the game.
Coach Levi Goins started King at power forward, and King muscled inside to score the first basket of the night.
Bishop only scored three baskets in the first quarter, but all of them were from long range. The Bears scored five times, but all were two-point tries for a 10-9 lead.
Isiah Simmons scored at the start of the second period to give Mount Airy its biggest lead at 12-9, but the Bears wouldn’t score again until the 1:04 mark.
Spencer Wilson and Tommy Koesters would hit 3-pointers, and Nick Efird would make a couple of slashing plays as Bishop went on a 17-0 run that was the deciding factor in the game.
“In the second quarter our offense was extremely inefficient,” said Goins. “That was a combination of us trying to get to the basket and not getting body-contact fouls, and they were knocking down jump shots.”
Down 26-12 with a minute left, the Bears finally broke through. Carson Mounce was fouled and hit a free throw. Then Simmons and Clay Mounce scored to cut the margin to nine at 26-17.
“Holding Bishop to 26 in the first half is not bad,” said Goins. “They’ve got a bunch of guys who can really shoot the ball. We feel like if we hold a team under 60 were are in a good spot to win the game.”
The lead was still at nine points late in the third quarter at 40-31.
Then Bishop finished the period on a 7-2 spurt to make it 47-33.
“The third quarter, we were kind of flat once again, which is not something you expect against a team that should want revenge after a game we felt like we should have won down at their place,” said Goins. The Bears had the lead with less than two seconds to go, but Bishop hit a 60-footer at the buzzer.
The Bears’ Khaileel Dailey made a driving layup in transition, followed by a fast break bucket for Caleb Horton to cut the lead to 10.
The Villains tried to pound the ball inside to big center Will Gardner, who lowered his shoulder and bulled into Carson Mounce. The 6-foot-10 Mounce held his ground and blocked Gardner’s shot.
The Villains recovered the ball and threw it back to Gardner. On an identical play, Mounce blocked another shot, and a frustrated Gardner fouled the Bears going for the loose ball.
That exchange added to the Bears’ comeback hopes with 6:41 left.
Dailey sank two free throws to make it 47-39, then Bishop reserve Jack O’Halloran missed two shots. For the game, Bishop’s bench didn’t provide any scoring, which may have contributed to the starters getting tired.
The Bears forced several turnovers in the fourth quarter, but both Dailey and Horton picked up their fourth fouls, forcing them to be a little more cautious.
Dailey, Horton and Simmons each scored as the Bears pulled to 50-47, making up a lot of ground without taking a single 3-pointer.
Once they got close, however, the Bears started looking for threes instead of sticking with the attacking style that got them there.
Efird scored to make it 52-47, then Dailey answered to make it 52-49. The Bears wouldn’t score again, while Bishop would get 4 of 4 foul shooting from Spencer Wilson and 1 of 2 from Gardner in the last 44 seconds for the win.
Carson Mounce led the Bears in rebounds (eight) and blocks (five) while scoring seven points.
While Bishop didn’t have any bench scoring, the Bears had 22 points from three players.
Simmons led the team with 11 points, and Clay Mounce had nine points after coming in for King. Sihem Smith added two free throws.
Dailey had 10 points and six boards, and Horton scored eight points.
Mount Airy (14-8 overall, 7-5 conference) is locked into fourth place in the league standings and will play either Walkertown, North Stokes or Atkins in the first round of the conference tournament on Monday. The Wolfpack, Vikings and Camels all finished 2-10 in the league.
Winston-Salem Prep has secured the regular-season conference title, and East Surry and Bishop McGuinness have a regular-season game left to decide second place.
Goins said Mount Airy is working to schedule a non-conference game at Surry Central on Saturday night, weather permitting.
Staff reporter Jeremy Moorhouse contributed to this report.
Bishop McGuinness 59, Mount Airy 49 (Tuesday)
Bishop McGuinness9 17 21 12 — 59
Mount Airy10 7 16 16 — 49
Bishop McGuinness: Nick Efird 23, Spencer Wilson 20, Gardner 7, Koesters 5, Weathers 4
Mount Airy: Caleb Horton 8, Khaileel Dailey 10, Isaiah King 2, Isiah Simmons 11, Clay Mounce 9, Carson Mounce 7, Sihem Smith 2