When Mount Airy ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run against county rival North Surry, fans of the Lady Hounds probably thought they were in for a long night.
As it turned out, the Lady Bears came away with the victory, but it took a second-half surge led by Shaunae Sawyers and Asherah Smith to lift the visitors to a 54-39 win in the Ron King Gym.
Mount Airy (2-1) outscored the Lady Greyhounds 25-10 over a seven-minute span after North Surry had used an 8-0 run at the start of the third quarter to take its final lead at 25-24 on a hook shot by Martha Moxley with 5:12 left in the period.
“It was kind of an ugly game,” said Mount Aiiry head coach Angela Mayfield, who felt like her team wasn’t patient enough against the Lady Hounds’ defense at times. “It’s not the type of game we like to play in, but that’s what you expect in a cross-town rivalry game.”
Mount Airy, which had led by as many as eight and by 24-17 at halftime, then snapped out of a bit of a funk and started to roll. Jo Snow gave the Lady Bears the lead back after 17 seconds with a driving layup. Then Smith stole the ball in the backcourt and took it the other way, drawing a foul underneath and sinking two free throws. Less than a half-minute later, Alyssa Cox stole the ball and flipped it ahead to Sawyers near the basket. Sawyers didn’t have a clear shot, so she flipped it to Smith, who did.
Now trailing 30-25 with exactly 11 minutes left in the game, North Surry head coach Shane Slate called time-out. However, Mount Airy kept rolling. Madeline Mayfield led Smith on another fastbreak, and after Martha Holt hit a long jumper for North’s first field goal in four minutes, Smith got open on the left baseline and swished a 3-pointer. A basket by the Lady Hounds’ Mikaela Johnson made it 35-30 with a quarter to go.
Unfortunately for the home team, the Lady Bears pulled away down the stretch. Mount Airy hit seven of eight free throws in the last eight minutes, and Sawyers and Smith both sank dagger 3-pointers. The key sequence came after Callie Willard hit a long jumper with 4:01 left to pull her team back within 43-34. Smith got open in the corner for a trey about 20 seconds later, and on the Lady Hounds’ next possession, Sawyers stole the ball near halfcourt and took it in for a layup and a 14-point Mount Airy lead.
“We did the things down the stretch that I thought we needed to do to win,” said Coach Mayfield. “We were 13-14 from the free-throw line and that was a big improvement for us.”
The visitors trailed 5-3 when Mount Airy caught fire midway through the opening period and blanked North (5-7) the rest of the way. The Lady Bears led 13-5 after one, thanks to 3-pointers by Arry Ward, Snow and Smith, and two free throws each from Snow and Sawyers. North kept it close in the second quarter, mainly through the efforts of Johnson and senior forward Martha Holt, who led their team with 12 and 10 points, respectively. North twice got within two in the quarter, but Snow answered with a runner in the lane and then Tatyana Long drove an open lane to the basket and scored for a 20-16 lead.
Snow led the Lady Bears with 18 points. Smith added 17 and Sawyers 12. For North Surry, no one other than Johnson and Holt collected more than five.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.