KING — The Golden Eagles went cold from the outside in the second half and let West Stokes pull away in a 59-46 loss Monday night.
Surry Central had a chance to tie for first place with a win, but instead falls to third place and must play tonight in the first round of the Western Piedmont Conference Tournament.
West Stokes clinched the top seed, and Carver beat South Stokes for the second spot. Those two teams get a first-round bye and don’t play until Wednesday.
The Central girls received a first-round bye, so tonight’s boys game will start a little earlier than usual at 7 p.m. against Forbush.
Central (13-10) beat Forbush (4-19) in both matchups this season by an average of 15 points.
If they win as expected, the Eagles would take on Carver Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at West Stokes, which is hosting the semifinals and finals from Wednesday to Friday.
In this game Monday, West Stokes jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but the Eagles roared back to take a 14-11 lead.
Point guard Rocky Collins hit four three-pointers, and Jake Wilmoth added another for 12 of those points.
The Eagles had six deep bombs in the first half, but just two in the second half as West Stokes often played a 2-3 zone and dared the Eagles to shoot long ones.
Central finished the night 8-14 on two-point tries, better than 50 percent, noted assistant coach Jeff Edmonds. However, the team was 8-29 on threes, far more attempts than Central normally shoots.
Despite the troubles from the outside, Central still was only one point behind with six minutes left at 37-36, noted Edmonds.
After that, however, West Stokes outscored Central 22-10.
It was a physical game, which seemed to play more to West Stokes’ favor, said Edmonds. Freshman sensation Dante Hanner in particular was bottled up by the physical zone and scored just four points.
Collins led the team with 14 points, but all of them came in the first half. Zach Wilmoth had another double-double of 13 points and 10 boards to go with two steals.
Cole Stewart had seven points and two steals. Hanner had five rebounds and three steals to go with his four points.
Jake Wilmoth and Kirk Needham had three points each, and Jeremy Patterson two.
Keshawn Rawleigh led West with 19 points, but the biggest difference between this game and the Eagles’ win in Dobson was the play of Grayson Cobb and Spencer Hensley.
Cobb and Hensley had only six points combined in that game, but Hensley scored 15 and Cobb 14 in this game.