The Lady Eagles held Mount Airy scoreless for the first five and half minutes, then pulled away for a 61-35 win.
Surry Central’s defense carried the team in the first quarter until the offense came alive.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten Mount Airy, so I’m very proud of them,” said Coach Mandy Holt. “We’ll enjoy this over Christmas, but we’ve still got room to improve.”
In the first three minutes, neither team scored. Then Surry Central broke through for six points before Andi Moore came off the bench to hit back-to-back midrange jumpers.
The Eagles missed a couple of open layups in the opening minutes, but they didn’t sulk and continued to play tough on defense, noted Holt.
Tess Dockery and Marlee Wilmoth pressured the Bear guards well all night, the coach said. Wilmoth provided four steals.
Mount Airy likes to pressure the ball, too, and Holt felt that Cassidy Joyner’s ability to handle the ball while being dogged by Symone Simmons was a key to the game.
Simmons can stay right in a player’s hip pocket and frustrate the dribbler, but Joyner kept her composure well, according to the coach.
From 14-12, the Eagles went on an 8-0 run with the Lewis sisters, Brittany and Brooke, providing six points. The other bucket came after Courtney Hegler picked up two offensive rebounds before converting on the third try.
Holt has often spoke of needing offensive balance. Sometimes the Eagles get two good shooting performances, but no third option. By the half, Joyner had nine points, but then the Lewis sisters provided all 10 of their points in the first half, Sarah Bruce had five and Hegler had four.
The Eagles led 28-15 before Kathryn Beasley and Ayano Shelton posted buckets for a 28-19 halftime score.
Central opened the second half with a 10-0 run, doubling up Mount Airy 38-19.
However, the Bears didn’t quit and began to find the range from the outside. After not hitting a three in the first two and a half quarters, the Bears made five.
Moore and Dana Brown made two each, and Beasley hit one.
Still, Bruce and Joyner had 10 points each in the second half to keep the game out of reach.
“I was very proud of the team defense,” said Holt. The Bears like to drive into the lane and kick out to the three-point line, she noted, so “we knew we had to help and recover out to the perimeter.”
The Eagles finished with several blocks, 17 steals and 11 deflections. They also grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.
Hegler nearly had another double-double with nine points, 10 boards, five assists, three blocks, six steals and three deflections.
Joyner finished with 19 points, four boards, one assist, one block and one steal.
The two teams will play Thursday and Friday in the Christmas tournament at East Surry. The local schools will play against Wilkes County teams both days.