The Lady Bears beat North Stokes 61-37 Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Tournament.
Mount Airy went on a 16-0 run over a five-minute span to take control of the game.
The Lady Vikings came into the game 6-18, 2-10 in the conference. Not many gave North Stokes a chance, but the Vikings came out with determination.
With 14 minutes gone in the first half, North Stokes led 20-19 as Heather Nall had 11 points and Hannah McBride four.
Then senior Kathryn Beasley put the Bears on her sturdy shoulders. She was fouled on a drive and hit both foul shots. Then she hit a 17-footer, a driving layup and a close shot with a foul in the final two minutes for eight unanswered points.
Then Halee Ratcliff scored a layup just before the buzzer, and Mount Airy led 29-20.
The cold spell continued for the Vikings at the start of the second half.
From the end of the second quarter through the first three minutes of the third, the Bears held the Vikings scoreless for more than five minutes.
The lead reached 15 points at 35-20 before North Stokes could score again. The margin remained 15 at the end of the third quarter, 44-29.
“I thought we had a nice spark in the second quarter from Halee Ratcliff,” said Coach Howard Mayo. She came in off the bench, made a couple of steals, hit ahead to Kathryn for one basket and scored herself in that 10-0 run.
At the end of the third quarter, Ratcliff took the ball very strong to the basket to draw a foul and made both shots, he added.
In the early going, Kathryn missed three of four foul shots, but that didn’t stop her from being aggressive, the coach pointed out. After that sluggish start, she hit 6 of 7 foul shots and finished with a game-high 17 points.
As a team, the Bears went 18 of 25 at the line (72 percent), and schools can win a lot of games when they shoot like that, he said.
Four minutes into the final period, the Bears extended the lead to 55-31 before Mayo pulled all the starters.
Mikayla Seivers had a good second half, he said. She broke their attempts at pressure, found her teammates with passes and scored six points.
Davi Barbour scored 11 points and made four assists and three steals. She played a very solid game, he said.
Ayano Shelton came off the bench to lead the team in rebounds with eight to go with seven points.
McBride led North Stokes with 14 points, and Nall scored all 11 of her points in the first half.
“We did a nice job of grinding out a victory,” he said.
The Bears will travel to Bishop McGuinness Thursday to take on Winston-Salem Prep at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the conference tournament.