The only people who will consider footage from Wednesday night’s boys’ game between North Surry and Mount Airy for their personal highlight reel might be the referees and Kendal Tucker.
The referees first. Between the two teams, a total of 58 fouls were called — 23 on the Greyhounds, who won 87-74, and a whopping 35 on the Granite Bears, plus three technical fouls, two which were on Mount Airy. Five Mount Airy players and one North Surry player fouled out of the game, and North Surry point guard Mason Hawks alone shot 15 free throws, making 10 of them. It wasn’t that the officials were whistle-happy, it was simply that the game was extremely physical and eventually became somewhat emotional as well.
As for Tucker, the senior guard for the Hounds put on a scoring spree late in the second quarter that looked like it might run the Bears out of the gym. In the span of little over a minute, he hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then a trey from the right baseline, then made two free throws, and finally drilled another three-ball from the same spot along the baseline — giving him 11 points in 77 seconds and extending his team’s lead from 13 points to their largest of the game, at 42-20 with just under four minutes left in the first half.
Two things happened at this point. First, North Surry head coach Kevin King took Tucker out of the game for a breather. Second, his counterpart with Mount Airy, Levi Goins, had a word with his team, which was being out-hustled and making serious defensive mistakes, such as leaving dangerous shooters like Tucker unguarded. The Bears corrected some of these mistakes and ended the first half on a 10-3 run, closing to within 45-30 by the time halftime rolled around.
Mount Airy kept pushing as the second half got under way, and cut the margin back to single digits at 49-40 on a Donavon Greene putback with about five minutes left in the third quarter. The lead was reduced to eight, at 51-43, when Greene scored on a putback at 4:17, and then the Bears had a chance to get within six moments later when the sophomore was unable to finish a fastbreak. Right after that, Caleb Arrington, who led Mount Airy with 26 points, picked up his fourth personal foul. Greene did the same right after that, and North Surry proceeded to go on a 7-2 spree to push the lead back to 58-45 on a pair of Tucker free throws. It was 58-48 when the Bears’ Gregory Greene fouled out of the game right after hitting a 3-pointer. Greene protested the call too loudly and also drew a technical foul. Hawks made three of four free throws, then Tucker hit an eight-footer in the lane, and right before the quarter ended, Hawks dialed long distance for three and a 66-49 lead.
Mount Airy never got closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter.
The Hounds never trailed in the game. They opened the contest with threes from Hawks and Carter Phillips, and then Tucker hit one from an early 11-2 lead. The Bears rallied to within 16-13 on a shot in the lane by Arrington with 96 seconds left in the period, but Hawks scored twice before the quarter ended and it was 21-13 after one.
Hawks led North Surry with 29 points, with Tucker right on his heels at 26. Carter Phillips added 18.
Will Sparks had 19 points and was the second-leading scorer for the visitors. Greens and Ryan Graham had eight each.
Both teams will be on the road Friday night. The Bears visit North Stokes, while the Greyhounds will try to keep their unbeaten record alive at Northwest Guilford.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.