PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Surry Homeschool girls’ basketball team has returned to the top spot in the North Carolina Home Educators Athletic Conference.
The Lady Patriots had to fight for it, but two victories in NCHEAC contests last week returned the team to a tie for first place in the conference, a month after a loss a Guilford had dropped the team into second place right before the Christmas break.
Their chance at redemption for that defeat came on Jan. 17, when Guilford dropped into the Armfield Center for the rematch. This time, Surry did with defense what it failed to do with offense in December, and outlasted the visitors for a 41-38 victory. The teams were tied at 29 going to the fourth quarter, but a 12-9 edge in the final period gave the Lady Patriots the win.
“They beat us by 11 over there, and we had played worse than bad,” said Surry coach Todd Hill. “We still did not shoot well, but he did enough other things well that we were able to win.”
Catherine Edwards led the team with 13 points. Jill Boyd added seven, Trinity Thompson six, Lydia Clayton six, Jenny Brown six, Kayleigh Cooper two and Krissa Hill one. Clayton, with 11, and Thompson with nine were the team’s leading rebounders, while Hill had six assists and seven steals. Boyd added five steals of her own.
On Friday night, Surry was back in action for another conference rematch, this time against Asheville. The game was supposed to be another home contest for the team at Armfield, but the civic center was in use that night for the Western Piedmont 2A swim finals, so the Patriots had to play in the gym at St. Paul Intermediate School in Cana. Despite the change of venue, the team was able to hold on and defeat Asheville 41-40 in overtime, holding on to a share of first place as a result.
The Lady Patriots, now 4-1 in league action with one conference game remaining, prevailed mainly thanks to Millie Cox knocking down six free throws without a miss in the last few minutes. Surry outscored the visitors 5-4 in the overtime session for the one-point victory.
“We didn’t shoot well again,” said Hill. “We had the game won; we had a four-point lead with 45 seconds left in regulation, but then we committed three turnovers in a row and (Asheville) tied it up.
“We ran some nice sets during the game and we were able to get some good looks at the basket, but we didn’t make our shots.”
The teams scored just six points each between them in the first quarter. Surry led 18-15 at halftime, but couldn’t put Asheville away.
Other than Cox’ ability to make clutch free throws, the key for the Lady Patriots was their work on the boards. Brown grabbed 22 rebounds and Clayton had a double-double, with 11 points to go along with her 15 rebounds. Boyd and Cox each scored eight points, Hill five, Edwards four, Brown two and Thompson one. Hill had five assists to lead the team in that category.
Surry got into some foul trouble late in the game, which was marred by 37 foul calls and a number of players fouling out.
“We had some people playing out of place, but we responded well,” said Hill. “The kids stepped up.”
Surry completes conference play on Tuesday night at home against Cabarrus. If the Lady Patriots win, they will earn at least a share of the conference title, depending on what Guilford does in its last two league tilts. After that, the team will embark on another long run of non-conference games before the playoffs start, beginning with a Thursday night game at South Charlotte Home Educators.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.