DOBSON — The Granite Bears steadily built a lead in defeating Surry Central 59-51 Friday night.
In a closely contested game, Mount Airy outscored Central in each quarter: one point in the first, two in the second, four in the third and one in the fourth.
It was a battle from the beginning, said Bear Coach Levi Goins. Surry Central is a tough place to play with a great crowd.
While the battle was close throughout, things didn’t always seem as close as the scoreboard — at least to the home team’s coaching staff.
“It felt like they controlled the game,” said Central assistant coach Jeff Edmonds. “We were trying to catch up the whole way.”
Coming into this week, the Bears had been on a 7-1 streak using a smaller lineup with basically a center and four guards. After two close losses by an average of three points, the Bears came in hungry.
Mount Airy’s quick lineup does give teams matchup challenges, admitted Edmonds.
“They have created the identity that they want to go forward with,” he said of the Bears. While the small lineup did give the Eagles an advantage in height, Edmonds said, “It seemed that as the game went along, we had a harder time guarding them than they did guarding us.”
Playing against the fast lineup also may have caused the Eagles to rush some on offense.
“We seemed really quick on offense and had a hard time staying in it,” Edmonds said. When the Eagles did show patience, the boys got good looks.
Goins said his team played great defense, and that it was refreshing to see them keep it up all four quarters, especially in the fourth. The Bears gave up just eight points to stymie any comeback attempt.
The first time the teams played in December, Central’s Zach Wilmoth broke out with 26 points and 18 rebounds. This time, he reached about half that with 12 points and nine rebounds. He shot 1-2 from deep, but just 3-11 inside the arc.
Carson Mounce was a bigger factor this time, explained Edmonds. The Bears’ 6-foot-7 sophomore had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.
Mounce was huge inside, said Goins.
Caleb Horton led Mount Airy with 18 points. Austin Taylor had six of his 15 points in the first quarter, keeping the game close. Khaleel Dailey scored 10, and Benji Hicks sparked a run in the third with a three-pointer. Sean Best added a free throw.
After Wilmoth’s 12, the Eagles had Simeon Bracken with 10 points on 4-5 shooting and five rebounds.
Luke Haymore had eight points, four boards, a block and a steal.
Colby Chilton, Jake Wilmoth and Kenyon Martin had six points each, and Brett Mosley scored three.
Mount Airy improved to 11-7, 6-6 in the conference. With five straight losses, Surry Central falls to 8-11, 3-8 in the Northwest.
Mount Airy is still in the thick of the race for third place with East Surry, South Stokes and Bishop all with six or seven wins.