The Granite Bears clamped down defensively and flustered Patrick County, Va., in a 63-32 home win Wednesday.
There was a stretch in the first quarter where the Cougars went about three minutes without even attempting a shot as the Mount Airy guards hounded the visiting team, according to Coach Levi Goins.
“We got them frustrated with our pressure early on,” said Goins.
Austin Taylor and Darius Gwyn have motors that never stop, the coach said. They and their teammates held the Cougars to just 20 shot attempts in the game.
The pressure allowed Mount Airy to get out in transition and score a high percentage of shots.
Between the layups and Patrick County’s low attempts, there weren’t many rebounds to go around, the coach noted. The high man, Carson Mounce, only had about five or six boards.
Mounce had seven points and seven blocks. Patrick County only missed nine shots on the night, and seven of them were because of the 6-foot-8 sophomore.
The Bears took a 17-10 lead in the first quarter, then really clamped down on defense in the second, outscoring the Cougars 13-2.
It took a little while for the guards to settle in and get a feel for the game, said Goins. Once that happened, they felt more comfortable playing tighter defense.
The coach said the team was fortunate to have players come off the bench and produce. Benji Hicks, an all-conference lineman for the football team, came into the game and scored seven points in about two minutes, including a three, the coach noted.
Hicks finished with 13, tied for the team high with Khaleel Dailey. Taylor added 12.
After a 21-point outburst in the third quarter, the Bears led 51-21 before cruising to a 31-point victory.
The Bears (6-4) won three straight nonconference games over the holiday break, but now have to get back into the heart of the Northwest Conference schedule.
Mount Airy travels to South Stokes Friday. At 3-1 (8-3 overall), the Sauras are in third place now.
“They’ve always got athletes,” said Goins.
Next week the Bears play Winston-Salem Prep (10-1, 4-0) and Bishop McGuinness (3-4, 2-2). The following week is East Surry and North Surry.
“There are no nights off in our conference,” said Goins.