The North Surry girls basketball team used a late surge in the third quarter to pull away from East Surry on Tuesday night for a 49-27 season-opening victory.
Seven different Lady Hounds scored a basket and North forced the Lady Cards into 28 turnovers. Still, Greyhound coach Shane Slate knows his team didn’t play up to its potential against East Surry.
“We just weren’t as solid as we needed to be in some basic things,” Slate said. “But it’s the first game, so I’m not too surprised with that.”
The Hounds went on a 10-0 run at the end of the first quarter to push their lead to 14-4. They forced the Cardinals into a dozen turnovers, and Arin Bunker scored six of her nine points in the opening period.
However, East Surry effectively slowed the pace down in the second quarter and a majority of the third. The Lady Cardinals stayed within striking distance behind some nice shooting from Maddi Pennington, who finished with a team-high nine points.
The Hounds led 28-20 with less than two minutes remaining in the third period when sophomore forward Mikaela Johnson took over. On back-to-back possessions, Johnson received a pass deep inside the paint and made a move to her right for a layup and the foul. On both occasions, she made her free throw to stretch North Surry’s lead to 34-20.
Johnson scored another basket off one of her team’s 15 offensive rebounds, and North Surry followed that with a layup from Jessy Nichols in transition. Ten points in the final 1:41 of the third quarter gave the Lady Hounds an insurmountable 38-20 lead heading into the final period. Johnson finished with 16 points on 7-11 shooting.
“I was pleased with how we attacked the basket all night,” Slate said. “We shot 28 free throws. We didn’t make as many as we should have, but we got a lot of attempts around the basket.”
Senior forward Abby Andrews came off the bench and put in a solid performance on the offensive side of the ball for North Surry. Andrews scored 10 points, six coming in the final quarter, and she was a menace at cutting to the basket and creating chances right at the rim. She also went 6-8 from the free throw line.
Tianna Shuff and Nichols each recorded two assists to lead the Lady Hounds.
For the most part, Slate was pleased with his team’s offense on Tuesday, but he would have liked to see a better showing on defense. He thinks North Surry could have done a better job “seeing man and ball,” and keeping the foot on the pedal when the team fell into a slight lull midway through the contest.
On the other side, East Surry coach Caleb Gilley had mixed reactions to his team’s opening defeat.
“I think we played really well defensively. We forced them into some stuff,” Gilley said. “But then we bailed them out a couple times by not boxing out. Offensively, we just struggled with their pressure.”
Sydney Marion matched Pennington with nine points for the Cardinals on Tuesday. The senior also did a good job guarding Johnson until the North Surry sophomore found her groove in the third quarter.
East Surry will be off for the next couple days until a Friday night showdown with Surry Central at home. North Surry returns to action tonight at home against Bishop McGuinness.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16