KERNERSVILLE — The Lady Cardinals handed Bishop McGuinness its first conference loss Friday 45-38.
The Lady Villains were tied with North Surry atop the Northwest Conference standings, with East Surry right behind with just one loss.
With the win, the Cards are now in second place with a 5-1 conference mark, and Bishop is a half-game behind at 4-1. Surry Central and Mount Airy are next with just two conference losses.
“This is a huge win,” said Coach Keith Gunter. Bishop has been part of the local conference for seven years, and this is the first time East Surry has beaten the Villains, he pointed out.
Bishop took the first quarter 10-8.
“We were a little excited,” he said. Bishop did some trapping, and the girls committed some turnovers.
“Luckily, Bishop didn’t capitalize on them,” he said, or the deficit would have been a lot worse than two points.
In the second quarter, the Cards started to find the basket and slowed down Bishop. East took a 22-19 lead into halftime.
After the frantic play of the opening minutes, Gunter said, “We played our best defense of the season.”
Bishop made four three-pointers, but took about 20 to get there, he noted. With those long caroms off the rim, everyone needed to box out and rebound.
Point guard Lauren Thompson had nine defensive boards, chasing down misses.
“Lauren Thompson played an incredible game both offensively and defensively,” he said.
The goal is to hold teams to 10 or fewer points in every quarter, and the Cards held the Villains to just 14 over the second and third quarters combined. That let East take a 32-23 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We were more deliberate in running our offense,” he said. “We didn’t force shots or force passes. We took what they gave us. We might hold the ball for a minute or more.”
Gabi Jessup only hit one three in the game, but that gave the team a lift in the third quarter, Gunter said.
The lead reached double figures early in the fourth, but junior Olivia DeFrancesco hit two threes as Bishop cut the margin to four.
East was trying to run some clock by passing around the perimeter. Still, he said that players must look for backdoor cuts and attack if the defense is overplaying the wings.
Once the Cards began attacking again, fouls mounted for the Villains. Center Cameron Nieters and power forward Julia Brown both fouled out.
Keri Fulp has been battling bronchitis, but she gutted it out and played hard, the coach said.
Fulp flirted with a triple-double with nine points, 10 boards, eight blocks and three assists.
Fulp and Thompson missed the front end of two one-and-ones early in the fourth, but then Thompson came back to make all four attempts in the closing minutes. She finished with six points and two assists.
Sydney Mosley played well on both ends, according to Gunter. She finished with a game-high 16 points and three assists.
East Surry (11-1) hosts Elkin on Wednesday.