DOBSON — The Golden Eagles cut a 15-point lead to four in the last two minutes, but couldn’t pull ahead of South Stokes.
Surry Central fell 57-45 on Senior Night and dropped into the 8/9 play-in game for the Northwest Conference Tournament.
With the Eagles losing and North Surry upsetting East Surry, Central is tied for eighth with North Stokes and will play the Vikings on Saturday evening.
After honoring seniors Luke Haymore and captain Simeon Bracken Tuesday night, the Eagles were pumped up.
“We came out and played really well together,” said Coach Ken Eiswald. “Probably as well as we’ve played all year.”
South Stokes opened the game in a 2-3 zone defense.
Eiswald said the team ran its zone offense and got some looks early, but the outside shots weren’t falling.
The Sauras went up 16-9 by the end of the quarter.
“It took some time, but then we gelled,” he said. Central went on a massive 16-2 run to go ahead 25-18 close to halftime.
Kirk Needham hit some threes to run them out of that 2-3 zone, said assistant coach Jeff Edmonds. After hitting a three in the first, Needham buried three long bombs in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, South Stokes came back to score the last five points of the half to steal away that momentum.
The Eagles led 25-23 at the break.
The Sauras continued their streak in the third quarter, jumping ahead 37-27. Between the second and third quarters, Stokes put together a 19-2 run.
“They switched to a 1-3-1 (zone), and we weren’t aggressive enough attacking it,” he said.
The lead grew to as much as 15 points at 47-32, but then the Eagles came back with a furious rally late in the fourth.
Teams don’t play a lot of 1-3-1 zone, so it took a little while to adjust to it, the coach said.
The 13-2 spurt made it 49-45 with a minute and a half left.
Then the Eagles had a costly turnover, and the Sauras hit their foul shots to clinch the win.
Zach Wilmoth led the Eagles with 16 points on 7-15 shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds, passed out two assists and made a block.
Needham was 4-8 from long range for 12 points, but the rest of the team was 2-15 from deep.
The two seniors had a rough night shooting, but helped in other ways. Haymore had four points, six boards, two steals and two blocks. Bracken had two points, four boards and three assists.
Brett Mosley scored four, Rocky Collins three and Samuel Harris and Jake Wilmoth had two each.
Brandon Smith scored 16 and Devon Feimster 12 to lead the Sauras.
While Central knows who it will play in the conference tournament, it is still undecided on which school will host.
Eiswald said Central holds the tiebreaker, so if both teams win or both teams lose on Friday, then Dobson will host the Saturday game.
Central has to play top-seeded Winston-Salem Prep, and North Stokes has South Stokes.
If North Stokes hosts, then the game will start at 5 p.m. in Danbury. If Central hosts, then the game will be at 6 p.m. Saturday.