For three quarters, North Surry held the run-and-gun Phoenix in check, but Winston-Salem Prep pulled away in the fourth for a 64-42 win.
Prep (10-1, 5-0) is tied with West Stokes atop the Northwest Conference standings. The favored Phoenix looked like they might run away with the game in the opening minutes.
Forcing turnovers and missed shots, Prep got out to a 7-0 start.
However, Grayson Vernon and Marcus Sawyers combined for nine points to keep it close at 16-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Prep’s Mike Hughes opened second with a basket, giving him 12 of the team’s first 18 points.
Then the Hounds found their stride. They cut down the turnovers, ran their offense and found some open shots to cut the lead to 22-21 with 3:22 left in the half.
Prep showed its explosiveness by putting up nine points in the next 60 seconds for a 31-23 edge. The visiting team led 33-27 at the break.
Prep outscored North 14-11 in the third quarter to raise the margin to nine points.
It was still nine for about a minute into the fourth quarter, then Prep finished the game on a 15-4 run.
“The fourth quarter killed us,” said Coach Travis Gammons.
“We hit a wall; their size and depth finally took a toll,” he said. “We missed some easy shots and took some quick shots, and that allowed the pace of the game to be a lot faster than we needed it to be.”
The team had some open shots that just didn’t fall, especially in the fourth quarter, but Gammons was proud of the way his team fought.
“We showed a lot of composure, and we battled in the first half,” he said. “We were in there possession for possession with them in the first half and early in the third.”
Center Ryan March went up against 6-foot-8 Coye Simmons and 6-foot-6 D.J. Harrison inside.
“I was pleased with the way Ryan played,” said the coach. “He was giving up five inches to that kid, and he held his own. That was maybe his best game of the year. … It was a very physical game.”
March finished with six points and several rebounds. Vernon led the Hounds with 18 points. Sawyers had all six of his points in the first half. Austin Handy added four, Austin France three, Jacob Snow three and Nathan Fletcher two.