PILOT MOUNTAIN — Opening night of the Northwest 1A Conference Tournament at East Surry High School pitted two teams who each carried a 6-6 league record with them. East Surry was down throughout the first three quarters, but the Cardinals managed to escape with a 66-65 victory over Walkertown.
Each side was held scoreless a little over a minute into Monday night’s game. The Wolfpack struck first, but a three-point basket from John Marion opened an early Cardinal lead. Trevon Simmons drained two three-point baskets within less than a minute of one another, and midway through the first quarter of action, East Surry was on top 10-6. Jefferson Boaz made one from the line, but there would be no other score for roughly the next three minutes from any Cardinal. Walkertown then carried a 12-point run until the closing seconds of the quarter before Luke Cartwright scored to pull East Surry back within seven.
The first six points posted by East Surry belonged to Boaz, and they all came scattered across the first four minutes of play. Adam Burke netted a three-point shot soon after. At the 2:45 mark, Quincy Smith made a jump shot, and the Cardinals had battled back and were only down by three. Marion and Boaz each scored twice more before the break, but at the half, the Cardinals still trailed their guests by the same three points.
During the first three minutes of the third quarter, Cartwright was the only Cardinal who contributed on the score sheet, putting in six points to prevent the Wolfpack from pulling away. However, East Surry was only able to muster 11 points in the entire eight minutes of play, and Walkertown carried a 10-point lead into the final eight minutes of play, by a score of 54-44.
Similarly to the first quarter, in the fourth, no score was posted from either side during the first minute of play. Finally, Boaz claimed the first three Cardinal points. Cartwright scored off a rebound of a missed Boaz free throw, and by the end of the first two minutes of the fourth, East Surry was within five. Boaz was fouled on a scoring drive and added three crucial points midway through the quarter. At the 3:30 mark, Smith drained his third basket on the night, which happened to be a three-point basket. Smith’s fourth basket was another shot behind the arc, pulling East Surry even for the first time since early in the game, at 58-58.
The score remained tied for the next minute. The third Cardinal make from behind the arc belonged to Simmons, as the Cardinals led the game 61-58 with less than a minute left to play. Burke was fouled and went to the line and sank two. Two possessions later, with the Cardinals still up four, Walkertown’s Jalen Cone was fouled while attempting a 3-point shot. He made all three free throws, and East Surry only had a one-point lead. Then Marion was fouled on back-to-back possessions and registered another three points, pushing the lead back to four. Walkertown’s Sherrard Wells swished a last-second buzzer beater behind the arc, but as time expired, Walkertown took the loss by one point.
Boaz led the team with 16 points, Marion followed behind with 14 and Cartwright logged 11.
East Surry will take on Winston-Salem Prep in tonight’s semifinals in the Mount Airy gym.