Visiting Randleman won the opening jump and threw a scare into the North Surry faithful at the start of Thursday night’s NCHSAA 2A state playoff game, opening the second-round contest with a 9-0 run.
The rest of the night belonged to the Greyhounds, though. After posting a double-digit point total and leading at the conclusion of every quarter, North Surry had rallied for an 84-68 victory and moved on to a key third-round battle on Saturday night at Lincolnton, another team regarded as one of the top contenders to win the 2A state title this season.
After the shaky start, Mason Hawks claimed the first Greyhounds basket two and a half minutes into the game. The Hounds themselves then posted a 6-0 unanswered run. Chase Chandler and Carter Phillips followed Hawks as they chipped in with two points each before another Tiger basket was scored. Randleman’s Cyle Cassidy put back Tanner McGee’s miss for an 11-6 lead. Avery Smith answered with his first of two baskets. Hawks knocked down a shot behind the arc, tying the game at 11. Phillips came out victorious after a battle under the hoop, first tying the game again at 13 and then putting North ahead for the first time. Smith then scored his second basket of the night and helped spark a 13-0 Greyhound run. With 25 seconds left on the clock, Hawks continued the Greyhound offensive success and helped add to the late run before McGee collected another Tiger basket. A Greyhound who wasn’t done was Phillips, as he was fouled while scoring a basket and then made a bonus free throw with four seconds left. After the first eight minutes of play, the Greyhounds posted a 24-15 lead. Phillips held 11 of North Surry’s 24 from the first quarter.
I n the second quarter, North Surry (24-4) built its lead further, outscoring Randleman 23-12.
During the first minute of the second quarter, Kendal Tucker made his mark as he made two shots from the line on back-to-back strides, and collected the first four Greyhound points to open up the period. Randleman responded and posted six points before another Greyhound mustered another score, but this just made North Surry mad, and the Hounds ripped off another 14 straight points before any Tiger managed to find the bottom of the net again. Phillips held a jumper and helped North bounce back to a 7-point lead. Chandler stole the ball in Tiger paint and ran it back for his second basket. Hawks took a feed from Ethan Simmons, Hull pulled two from the line and Tucker wound up his second quarter 6-for-6 at the line by adding another two points. The run continued as Hawks juggled the rock before claiming his next ma,e which capped the 14-0 run. The Hounds were up 42-23 before the next Randleman basket was tallied. During the final minute before the break, Hawks added another three points and Chandler his second steal and score. At the break, North Surry claimed a 20-point lead. Chandler claimed eight points on the night, and six were from the second quarter.
Hull opened up the third quarter of play with a successful battle at the net and posted the first Greyhound basket of the second half. Randleman’s McGee went into a scoring duel with Phillips as they each claimed a basket one after the other during the first three minutes of play. Randleman’s initial six points came from McGee; meanwhile for North Surry, Phillips added five. Hawks added to Phillips’ success in the third and posted five more before the quarter ended. Phillips finished out the third with a total of nine points.
North Surry carried a 16-point lead into the final eight minutes of competition on Thursday night, and even though both squads posted and matched the other’s 20 points in the fourth, all that did was leave the Hounds with a 16-point win and a trip to the third round.
Smith and Phillips posted two points each to help maintain a near 20-point lead early into the fourth quarter. As the midpoint of the quarter neared, Hawks and Smith also tallied an additional two points each. The Hounds were already up 72-56 before Tucker chucked in his first points that didn’t originate from the free-throw line. Tucker’s three and Hawks’ next shot from the line, helped create another 20-point lead. Less than a minute later, Hawks captured his second shot behind the arc on the night. Before the buzzer sounded, Phillips and Hull scored another two points each. Randleman accumulated 10 points within the last two and a half minutes of the game, but the Tigers would have needed at least 16 additional points to pull even.
In the victory, Hawks and Phillips matched one another with 26 points on the night, while Tucker and Smith scored nine each. Chandler added eight and Hull six.
North Surry will travel to Lincolnton on Saturday to take on the 25-1 Wolves with the time to be determined.