WINSTON-SALEM — When North Surry signed up for this year’s Mary Garber Holiday Tip-Off Classic, the Lady Hounds didn’t expect to be shorthanded.
Not that anyone was using it as an excuse for dropping the the first two games of the tournament, but North Surry struggled without sophomore Elle Sutphin in the lineup.
Sutphin, who made first-team All-District as a freshman and is regarded as one of the state’s top players in her class, is out with an injury early in the season. However, the show had to go on, and it did. Coming off a season where it was the state 2A runner-up and competed on an equal footing with several Forsyth County powers, North was seeded third in the Pepsi Bracket and took on Mount Tabor on Saturday.
The contest, which was played at Atkins High School, started to go south for the Lady Hounds in the second quarter. Each team scored seven in the opening period, but then the Spartans outscored North 17-6 in the second and held an 11-point lead at the break. North Surry was never able to rally and fell 43-23.
In some respects, the Lady Hounds were probably fortunate not to get beaten worse. The team shot just 31 percent from the field (10-32), made just three of 12 free throws (25 percent), had more turnovers (29) than points, and its leading assist-getter was six-foot post player Martha Holt, who had two.
Mikaela Johnson battled through all of this to get 11 points and grab seven rebounds for her team, but spent most of the time hemmed in defensively. North failed to make a single 3-point shot, and attempted just two, one from Holt and one from Johnson herself.
North Surry played again on Tuesday night, this time against Atkins, a newcomer to the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference this season. However, the Mary Garber games don’t count in the conference standings, and North is happy for that after falling 53-43 to the Camels.
Atkins was one of the top 1A teams in the state last season, and the only 1A team to defeat eventual state champ Mount Airy during the season. However, the Camels were reclassified 2A after the season and are expected to challenge North Surry and Forbush at the top of the league.
Stats from the game weren’t available at press time. The Camels improved to 3-1 on the year with the win.
North Surry will play one more game in the Garber Invitational on Wednesday night. After taking Thanksgiving Day off, the Lady Hounds will jump back into the fire, entering the Headliner’s Challenge in High Point. North plays at High Point Central on Friday, then takes on Wakefield High School of Raleigh the next night on a court in High Point.