PILOT MOUNTAIN — North Surry’s boys basketball team fell for some pump fakes and allowed a number of easy drives to the rim during the first half of its Wednesday night contest with the East Surry Cardinals.
Kevin King, the Greyhounds’ coach, made sure his team was well aware of their mistakes in the first two periods, and it showed in a dominating third quarter. North Surry forced the Cardinals into an ugly offensive performance in the third quarter, as a 19-9 advantage propelled the Greyhounds to a 76-55 victory over East Surry.
“East Surry can be a tough team to guard,” King said. “I thought in the second half, we did a much better job staying on our feet and not going for shot fakes, and we did a better job taking away some of their cuts to the basket.”
While the defense was at its best in the third period, the North Surry (3-1) offense was efficient throughout the evening.
Junior point guard Mason Hawks turned in a terrific performance, leading the Greyhounds with 24 points on 9-10 shooting. He was consistently attacking the basket and took advantage of East Surry’s lack of size defending the rim.
“I let the game come to me,” Hawks said. “I always look for other people to score… But when I feel like I need to go get mine, I go get mine.”
Carter Phillips was nearly as electric as Hawks on the offensive end of the floor for North Surry. The junior forward scored 22 points while also chipping in five assists and leading his team with eight rebounds. Phillips did a significant amount of his damage from the free-throw line, shooting 9-9.
North Surry as a whole was deadly from the charity stripe, knocking down 24 of its 26 free-throw attempts.
The two juniors capitalized on their team’s defense in the third quarter, combining for for 15 of the Hounds’ 19 points in the period.
North Surry entered the third frame with a 40-32 lead, but a bank-shot from Phillips and a smooth left-handed layup in traffic from Hawks plus the foul quickly stretched the Greyhounds’ lead to 13.
The dynamic duo wasn’t done. Phillips fired a deep three-pointer before two more layups from Hawks, and within a flash, North Surry held a commanding 53-37 lead.
“We don’t try to hold anybody back,” King said. “Hawks and Carter are our primary ball-handlers, and they have a green light to make plays for themselves, and for others… If we run our offense the way its supposed to run, you have to pick who you want to stop.”
Aside from the halftime adjustments on the defensive end, King was also impressed with the play from big man Luke Cartwright. The 6-foot-7 junior made life near the basket extremely difficult for the Cardinals, and Cartwright registered five blocks to go along with his 12 points and four rebounds.
The Cardinals (2-1) were at their best on Wednesday when they were able to quicken the tempo. Tyler Smith led the Cardinals with 20 points and did well leaking out in transition from time to time, but it wasn’t sustainable as the Hounds clamped down their defense in the second half.
Kim Taylor and Shawn Creed were also bright spots for East Surry. Taylor scored 18 points while Creed chipped in 11.
A huge test is on the horizon for North Surry. The Greyhounds will host North Rowan on Friday, and the Cavaliers are the No. 1 2A team in the state according to ncpreps.com.
East Surry will hit the road Friday and open conference play against the North Stokes Vikings.
Lady Greyhounds 51, Lady Cardinals 17
The North Surry girls dominated from start-to-finish on Wednesday in a 51-17 win over East Surry. The Lady Hounds fell behind 2-0 within the opening minutes of the first period, but it was the only lead the Lady Cards would hold throughout the evening.
Mikaela Johnson scored seven of her 12 points in the first period and North Surry (3-2) played lockdown defense in the win, limiting East to just three converted field goals throughout the first half.
“I thought our intensity on defense set a really nice tone,” Lady Hound coach Shane Slate said. “Even when we didn’t get a steal, we put them in a difficult position and forced them to play in a hurry.”
North Surry forced 15 steals to go along with seven blocks on the defensive end. Offensively, Johnson received support from Arin Bunker, who led the Lady Hounds with 16 points.
East Surry (1-3) struggled to create quality looks on Wednesday. Sydney Marion led the Lady Cardinals with seven points.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16