It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
The East Surry Lady Cards hope that how they finished their regular season is not indicative of the impending postseason.
Following a five-game winning streak, their longest of the season, the Cards dropped back-to-back games to strong county rivals in two of their lowest-scoring games of the season.
The Cardinals having been competing against cupcake teams, either. Thursday night, the Cardinals suffered a 57-35 loss to the state’s top-ranked 1A team, Mount Airy.
The Lady Hounds’ 38-29 victory Friday was their fifth in the past six games as the team finished third in the Western Piedmont 2A Athletic Conference.
Contrary to the final score, it was the Cardinals that held the lead for most of the first half. Hannah Moxley of North Surry scored the game’s first basket, but that was followed up by a layup from Cardinal Bethany Clayton.
Martha Holt put the Hounds back ahead with a layup, but once again East Surry countered. This time it was a 3-pointer from Katlyn Creed to put East ahead 5-4.
Dasia Lambert extended the lead with a pair of free throws with 4:18 remaining in the quarter.
The next points from North Surry, two free throws from Taylor Duncan, would be the last of the quarter for North.
Even though East Surry was held to just four points in the final 4:11 of the first quarter, the strong defense of North Surry couldn’t convert on the other end of the floor. This could be credited to coach Caleb Gilley switching the Lady Cards’ defensive scheme to zone after Duncan’s trip to the foul line.
East Surry’s points also came from the foul line. Clayton and Morgan Smith attacked the basket and were sent to the charity stripe as a result.
The Cardinals continued to roll with four points to start the second quarter. Clayton and Smith scored while Sheridan Kraft had blocks on back-to-back Greyhound possessions.
It wasn’t until 5:02 that Moxley got the Hounds back on the board. Tiana Shuff’s jumper and a 3-pointer from Moxley cut the Cardinal lead to just two.
East Surry pulled away with two 3-pointers from Lambert and Madison Bowman. The Cardinals held a 21-15 lead at the half following two additional points at the free-throw line from Duncan.
The second half was an entirely different game from the first. Clayton went to the line at 6:03 for two free throws. Those were the only two points scored by East Surry in the third quarter.
North Surry slowed the game down with long offensive possessions. Mikaela Johnson got rolling and scored her first four points of the game by backing down defenders and laying the ball up.
Following Holt’s basket at 3:54, neither team would score for the remainder of the quarter. East Surry quickly got into foul trouble, while North Surry couldn’t break the Cardinal defense in the final minutes of the quarter.
Five quick points from North Surry helped it take a 27-23 lead. Lambert scored the Cardinals’ first field goal of the second half with 6:15 remaining in the game.
North Surry then went on an 8-0 run. The East Surry defense couldn’t control Johnson inside, while the Cardinal offense struggled to put points on the board.
Clayton and Creed sparked a mini-run with four straight points for the Cardinals, cutting the lead to 35-29.
However, there just wasn’t enough time on the clock. East was forced to foul, and that’s when North Surry pulled ahead for their 38-29 victory.
Johnson’s second-half surge allowed her to finish with a team-high 11 points, followed by Duncan with nine, and Moxley with seven.
Clayton led the Cardinals with eight points, followed by Lambert with seven, and Smith with six.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith