DOBSON — It admittedly took some time for the Surry Central girls’ basketball team to find its stride while playing an unusual Monday evening game. But once they did, they took care of business in the opening round of the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference tournament.
The Lady Eagles, who already know they will be the 2A state playoffs, but who could still improve their seeding by taking the title, allowed just six points in the second half and rolled to a 63-20 rout over West Stokes after trailing 9-7 five minutes into the contest.
“Sometimes it’s hard when you had a game on Friday, and then you have to turn around and play a game on Monday,” said Surry Central coach Mandy Holt. “It took us a while to find our energy tonight.”
Central’s Jacee Busick tried to set an early tone by scoring six seconds into the contest, but West Stokes (5-18) seemed to settle in quicker, and played the Lady Eagles on even terms for several minutes. The teams traded baskets twice before Claire Via hit a 3-pointer for a 7-4 Surry Central lead at the 6:15 mark. However, West’s Tori Allen hit one of her own to tie the game, and then the Lady Wildcats scored again to take the lead.
Central clamped down defensively over the last three minutes of the opening quarter and held a 13-9 lead when it wound down.
The second quarter began with an 11-2 Lady Eagle run, which started with four successful free throws from Taylor Coe and Taylor Cochran. Then Savannah Atkins followed with the first two of her career-high 13 points; the sophomore also set a career-high with eight rebounds before the night was out. After West’s Sydney Cromer scored to stop the bleeding, Busick drove to the hoop for two and Atkins, left unguarded out of the right wing, let fly from three and hit it for a 24-11 Lady Eagle advantage. Allen matched her with another three, but had no answer when Atkins scored on a hook shot and a reverse layup to end the first half with the Lady Eagles ahead 28-14.
Surry Central outscored the visitors 35-6 in the second half. The Lady Eagles scored the first eight points of the third quarter, then scored nine more after West Stokes finally got a basket. The score was 45-18 after three quarters, and Central finally reached a 40-point lead with about two minutes left in the game, at which point the contest simply ticked away.
Busick led the home team with 19 points. Following Atkins’ 13 were Cochran with 10 and Coe with seven. Sarah Ford had 11 assists, while Coe had 11 rebounds. Allen led West Stokes with 10, and no one else had more than two.
The Lady Eagles (13-11) will travel to Forbush on Thursday night to take on the host school at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals.