EAST BEND — Not that it mattered either time, but neither the North Surry Greyhounds or the West Stokes Wildcats had home-court advantage this go-around. The rubber match on the neutral court of Forbush High School went to the Greyhounds, who won the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference Tournament title with a 92-79 victory Friday night.
The Hounds received their trophies as regular-season champions and the conference tourney. Carter Phillips received the 2017 WPAC Player of the Year nod, while Mason Hawks was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. North Surry Head Coach Kevin King shared the 2017 Coach of the Year honor with South Stokes’ Jason Clark.
Both North Surry and West Stokes had taken a loss from one another earlier this season, each winning on the other’s home court.
After the first quarter, the Greyhounds held a six-point lead. North later posted two quarters of play that almost touched 30 points each.
“I thought the biggest difference was our ability to get the ball down the lane. When they have to guard us man-to-man, we handled the ball well enough that we got to where we wanted to be,” said North coach Kevin King.
West Stokes won the jump, but it was the Greyhounds who hit the glass first. Avery Smith grabbed the rebound a little over a minute and a half into the game and fed the ball to Mason Hawks for the team’s first basket. Hawks not only held the team’s first score, but the second too, all before West Stokes got on the board. Josh Turner made the first basket for West Stokes, which happened to be two and a half minutes into the game. Phillips and Casey Hull each added a basket before another Wildcat netted another. Phillips made his first three-point basket a with a little under four minutes left to play, giving the Hounds a 12-4 edge. Hawks and Hull each made one from the line and netted another before the quarter expired. West Stokes waited pretty late in the first quarter to get things going, but added another eight points to close out the first. The Hounds led 18-12 after one.
Chase Chandler made his first basket 20 seconds into the second quarter. Phillips was in on the assist with Chandler’s inside the arc jumper. Hawks hit a shot from the free throw line. Chandler again came up big with his second score on the night, which happened to be a 3-pointer to yield a 24-16 lead. Hull was the only Greyhound to score during the next three minutes of action, but he chipped in an additional six points. Kendal Tucker was scoreless in the first quarter, but bounced out and added a total of seven points in the second. By the time he made his last basket of the quarter, North Surry was battling with an eight-point lead. Jacob Harrison swished a 3-pointer and Hawks a two-point basket as the end of the quarter was nearing. The explosive second period had the Hounds up by 12 at the break.
West Stokes owned a 4-0 run that opened up the third quarter, all from Devan Hairston. Tucker interrupted the run with a basket of his own. The Wildcats again pitched in another four points before another Greyhound answered. Phillips and Tucker each logged two points each before the midpoint of the third quarter was reached. With less than three and a half minutes left in the third, Phillips grabbed another baskets, Hawks and Hull two points each. Ethan Simmons held his lone make with 1:30 left to play in the third quarter. West Stokes cut into its deficit, but North was still up 63-56 heading into the final quarter.
The Greyhounds posted a 29-point quarter to close out the game. Phillips, Hull and Hawks all scored early in the final stanza. Two and a half minutes in, Chandler grabbed the board and fed it to Hawks, a lone man for a layup and his first fourth-quarter score. With Hawks’ make, North Surry had an 11-point lead with plenty of time left to go. During the next three minutes, Hawks posted eight points and Tucker seven, and Reid Fulk banged in a 3-pointer. It was all necessary, as the Hounds were still only ahead by 10. Hawks added another four points from the free-throw line and with his last layup, he had contributed a total of 27 points on the night. Fourteen came in the fourth quarter alone. Phillips went to the line on two separate occasions within the last 30 seconds of the game and added two points to his night’s total of 19. Tucker finished out the game sealing two from the line with less than eighteen seconds left on the clock.
“That was probably the best offensive game that Mason has had in a while, and when he makes his mind up that he is going to get two feet in the paint, he is hard to handle,” King said. “I also thought we did a well enough job defensively to be able to keep them at arm’s length. We did not get a whole lot of stops in the second half, but we did have a few players dive for loose balls in the second half, and those plays are big.”
North Surry had three individuals be named to the 2017 Western Piedmont Men’s All-Conference Team: Hawks, Phillips and Tucker. Hull was given the Honorable Mention nod. Phillips, Tucker and Hull were named to the 2017 WPAC All-Tournament Team.
Tucker had 22 for the night, and Hull had 15.
North Surry posted a 77 percent from the free-throw line along with a 73 percent field-goal percentage. The Greyhounds logged three blocks, five steals and 12 defensive rebounds. For West Stokes, both Isaac Spainhour and Josh Turner tagged 20 points, while Noah Spainhour claimed 15.