DOBSON —The worst nightmare for just about any team when facing Mount Airy is when the Lady Bears come out with hot hands.
Surry Central was all but knocked out on its collective feet before the end of the first quarter, as the state’s second-ranked 1A team put on a shooting clinic in the first quarter of their 63-43 victory Wednesday night.
The Lady Bears (16-1 overall) opened the game with three consecutive 3-pointers, the first by Jo Snow and then two in a row from Asherah Smith. Then, with the Lady Eagles back on their heels, Snow stole the ball in the frontcourt and went in for an easy layup. About two and a half minutes were gone and Central had put five on the board of their own, thanks to a Sarah Ford three and a basket from Taylor Coe, but Lady Eagles coach Mandy Holt had seen enough, and called for a time-out.
For a moment, it appeared as if Central (9-8) might hang in there. Taylor Cochran hit a three off the right wing with 3:31 left in the opening period, pulling her team within 13-10, but Shaunae Sawyers came right back the other way for Mount Airy, taking it to the rim for two and a foul. She converted the bonus free throw, and then the next three Mount Airy possessions ended in three points from long range — two treys from Snow sandwiched around one from Arry Ward. The first quarter ended with the Lady Bears leading 6-3 in made 3-pointers, but 27-13 on the scoreboard.
The Lady Eagles tightened up their perimeter defense in the second quarter, and there were no threes for the visitors. Unfortunately, Mount Airy coach Angela Mayfield had challenged her team to get after Central defensively, and the hosts were unable to score at all. Surry Central scored just one basket in the second quarter, a short jumper by Savannah Atkins midway through the period, while Mount Airy put in a dozen more points and held a commanding 39-15 lead at the break.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively,” said Mayfield. “They did a good job of doing what we asked them to do as far as getting into their passing lanes, boxing out and rebounding like we’re supposed to. Defensively, we really made a statement in the first half.”
The second half was little more than a formality. Sawyers and Bailey Flippen both had treys for the Lady Bears in the third quarter, which ended with Mount Airy holding a 35-point lead. In the final period, Central finally got its offense working and poured in 22 points against a mixture of Lady Bear regulars and reserves, but the final score was as close as it ever got. The highlight of the final period for Mount Airy may have come when Tatyana Long dialed long distance for her team’s ninth and final 3-pointer of the game.
For the Lady Bears, Snow led the way with 19 points, all but two of which were in the first half. Sawyers added 17, Smith eight, and Ward and Long five each.
Busick led Central with 13 points. Coe added nine, Cochran eight, Ford six and Atkins five.
Surry Central 57, West Stokes 14
If there was any solace for Central coach Mandy Holt, who felt her team did not play well against the Lady Bears, it’s that they did get the job done the night before, in an all-important Western Piedmont Athletic Conference battle.
The Lady Eagles pitched a 16-0 shutout in the first quarter at West Stokes and went wire-to-wire in a rout that improved the Lady Eagles to 3-2 in conference action.
Via led Central with 15 points. Busick added 13, Coe 10, with Cochran and Brooke Snow each collecting six. Snow, Coe and Busick tied as high rebounder with six, while Claire Via, one of the shortest players on the floor, hustled her way to five boards to go with her six steals and three assists. Busick had six steals of her own, but Cochran topped everyone, swiping seven.