The Surry Homeschool boys basketball team may have finally turned a corner on Friday night.
The Patriots are off to a slow start this season, due to a rash of injuries that have at times reduced coach Chris Anderson to just five experienced players, but the team has fought hard in every game, even when way behind.
If they’d had a little more time against Miller’s Creek Christian School, they might have had a stunning come-from-behind victory.
Surry mounted a furious fourth-quarter rally against homestanding Miller’s Creek, outscoring them 24-10 in the fourth quarter to close to within four points in the final minute before falling 56-50.
“Everything just started to click for us,” Anderson said. “We were setting screens, getting the ball inside, and making shots. We got the ball to the rim a few times to start the quarter, and that opened up the jump shot. We just came up a bit short.”
The Patriots trailed 34-15 at halftime and were down by more than 20 points on several occasions in the third quarter. A comeback win was unlikely, but Surry kept competing regardless of the score. A few more minutes of play likely would have seen the Patriots overtake the Lions, but the final buzzer arrived too soon to finish off the rally.
“We’d played our worst first half of the season,” Anderson said. “We couldn’t throw it in the ocean in the first half. We made a good comeback, but ran out of time.”
Anderson credited a defensive adjustment with helping the Patriots battle back in the second half, as well.
“They had one kid we couldn’t stop. He scored 17 points for them in the first half,” he said. “After halftime, we switched our defense and had Josh Eacho guard him. Josh did a great job and held that kid to just three points in the second half.”
Logan Anderson led Surry with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Gottfried added 20 points, and Luke Childress grabbed nine rebounds.
Sheets Memorial 58, Surry HS 42
Earlier in the week, the team faced a rematch with a strong Sheets Memorial team that had pummeled the shorthanded Patriots by 39 points just a week earlier.
Surry still didn’t have its full complement of players when it faced the Eagles again last Tuesday in Lexington, but it did have a gameplan. The first meeting had seen the Patriots just trying to survive a situation where they’d unexpectedly lost nearly half of their team due to injury.
Sheets (5-1) built an eight-point halftime lead and led by nine after three quarters of play, but was unable to put Surry away until the final minutes of the contest, and then only because foul trouble had forced Anderson to put two of his middle school players on the floor.
“Those kids did OK, but we were just so shorthanded,” Anderson said. “This was a much better game than the first time we played them.
“I think we’re starting to turn a corner, even with all of the kids missing. We’re looking forward to building on what we did in Friday night’s game.”
The Patriots will return to action on Tuesday night, hosting Morganton at the Armfield Center in Pilot Mountain.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.