The tight Northwest Conference standings grew tighter as Mount Airy’s boys downed East Surry 50-40.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, five teams had either a 3-4 or a 4-3 record. With this matchup, the Cardinals and Bears are both 4-4 now.
The Cards’ defense held Mount Airy without a point for more than four minutes to start the game.
Bear Coach Levi Goins called a timeout at 4:01 of the first as the home team fell behind 9-0.
“That was a rough start for us,” Goins admitted. He wanted to draw East Surry into taking some quick outside shots at the start, so he had the Bears in a zone.
That backfired as Drew Alley hit back-to-back threes, and Scott Meredith added another.
The Bears’ Carson Mounce and East’s Tyler Pardue swapped inside shots for an 11-2 lead.
Isiah Simmons came off the bench to make a couple of driving layups to cut the margin to 11-6 going into the second.
Senior Sean Best entered the game and gave the Bears five quick points. He scored inside, hit a baseline jumper and drew a shooting foul in the first two and a half minutes.
“Sean Best carried us in the second quarter,” said Goins, and Simmons gave the team a lift all game.
Isiah had been struggling a little, but he came out confident and made some big shots, including six free throws in the fourth quarter, the coach said.
He finished with a team-high 15 points, which helped make up for an off-night for starter Austin Taylor who finished with just two.
“We recovered and played with poise,” said Goins of the rally that tied the game at 22-all at the half. “The thing I’m most proud of is the way our guys bounced back.”
Mount Airy held the Cards to nine in the third quarter and went up 34-29.
East’s Scott Meredith had 10 points in the first half, but Goins liked his team’s defensive effort on the all-conference point guard.
“He’s a tremendous basketball player,” the coach said of Meredith. “He’s smart, he shoots the ball well.” And he looks stronger this year and is finishing better inside, he added.
Meredith scored nine of the Cards’ 11 points in the fourth, which Goins thought was impressive with a defender in his face on every play.
For Mount Airy Carson Mounce had 10 points, Best and Caleb Horton five each, Khaleel Dailey and Benji Hicks three each and Taylor two.
While the Lady Bears go to Carroll County, Va., today, the boys team is off until hosting North Surry on Friday. East Surry travels to West Stokes Friday.