North Surry’s girls basketball team has lost two games this season by a combined six points. Head coach Shane Slate knew his team could perform in close games, but the girls had to prove it on the floor.
The Lady Hounds flipped the script on Friday from their previous fourth-quarter failures, rallying from a five-point deficit in the final period before forcing overtime in an eventual 51-46 victory over North Rowan.
“It’s nice to get a close win,” North Surry coach Shane Slate said. “It definitely was not pretty…but we did some good things to offset some struggles we had early on.”
The Hounds (4-2) trailed 33-30 with 56 seconds remaining when North Rowan (4-3) earned a technical foul. Audrea Godffrey kicked North Surry’s Abby Andrews after the two ladies went diving to the floor for a loose ball. Maggie Hawks, who led North Surry with 19 points, stepped to the line and sank both her free throws to make it 33-32.
North Surry inbounded the basketball and ran its offense until Jessy Nichols drained a cold-blooded three from the left corner to give the Lady Hounds a 35-33 lead with 13 seconds to play.
“(Jessy’s) shot well all year. She got into some foul trouble tonight, so she didn’t have as many opportunities as she would have liked, but she made that big three and it helped open things up for us,” Slate said.
The Lady Cavaliers ran down the floor and missed a layup, but Aliyah Farmer grabbed her seventh offensive rebound of the second half, then converted her putback attempt to tie the game at 35. Mikaela Johnson’s heave at the buzzer hit the front of the rim to force overtime.
North Surry started the extra period with a terrific, old-fashioned, three-point play from Hawks. Johnson won the jump ball by tapping it into the frontcourt. Hawks was the first girl on the scene, and made her layup plus the foul for a 38-35 lead.
“It was big for us to get that early lead,” Hawks said. “They came back at the end and made it close, so I think those points ended up being really big for the win.”
The Lady Hounds led from start to finish in overtime, and despite shooting poorly from the free-throw line throughout the first four quarters, they shot 11-15 in the final four minutes to help seal the win.
The Lady Cavaliers’ coach didn’t make life any easier for his team with a critical technical foul in the overtime period. North Surry led 43-41 after a North Rowan foul, and coach Brian Lytton went a little too far with his disagreement for the call. Hawks stepped to the line and sank all four free throws to give her team a 47-41 lead.
North Surry’s offense was churning in the first quarter and held a 13-8 lead. North Rowan upped its defensive pressure and slowed down its offensive tempo, while relying on a bevy of offensive rebounds to frustrate the Lady Hounds and crawl back into the contest.
The Cavaliers also benefited from some foul trouble from Johnson, who sat out a majority of the third quarter. The sophomore forward was still able to finish with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lady Hounds will be back in action on Tuesday against Northwest Guilford.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16