BOONVILLE — East Surry overcame a three-point deficit in the last two minutes to beat Starmount 56-52 in the state 1A playoffs Wednesday.
Jacob Bowman only scored four points, but they were the biggest points in the ball game, said Coach Jason Anderson.
The Rams led 52-49 with 3:40 to play, but didn’t score again as the Cardinals clamped down on defense.
The offense didn’t execute that well, and the shooting percentage wasn’t that great, so the defense had to step up at crunch time, the coach said. Starmount had just six points in the fourth quarter after averaging 15.3 in the first three periods.
In the last two minutes, Bowman hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 52-all. Then when the Rams drove to the basket looking to score, center Seth Brim took a charge.
That was a huge defensive play, the coach said.
Then Brim scored a basket, and Bowman made it a two-possession game with three seconds left by hitting 1 of 2 at the foul line.
This time of year, a team has to gut out some wins, said Anderson. Starmount was gutsy all night and people could see why they won the Mountain Valley Conference, he said.
East led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter, but the Rams came back to take a halftime lead at 33-28.
The Cards pulled one point closer at 46-42 at the end of the third before applying the defense in the fourth.
Considering how deep the Cards went in the playoffs last year, did that give East Surry an advantage at crunch time?
Anderson said teams have to play a full four quarters and can’t let up for a minute, and his boys kept going all 32 minutes.
Getting a tough win on the road says a lot for his players, he added.
Scott Meredith led all scorers with 17 points, followed by Brim with 15. Carson Long added seven. Bowman, Jack Edwards and Garrett Vass scored four each, Tyler Smith three and Cody Ashburn two.
In the playoffs, teams need for the reserves to come in and give quality time, even if they don’t get a lot of minutes, said Anderson. The bench has really done that the past two weeks.
The Rams had three players in double figures: Gunner Cass with 14, Kyler Gregory 12 and James Ashley 10.
The final four of the sectional was very nearly an all-Northwest affair.
East Surry, Mount Airy and Winston-Salem Prep all won their games, and Bishop McGuinness lost by only a point to Albemarle.
Mount Airy goes to Albemarle Friday, and the Cards head to Winston-Salem.
If a team wants to reach the regionals, it has to go through Prep at some point, said Anderson.