DOBSON — The Golden Eagles needed overtime to keep North Stokes from winning its first conference game Tuesday.
Surry Central shut down the Vikings in the first half and had a good lead at halftime. However, the Vikings came back in the third quarter and eventually took the lead in the fourth.
A late rally by the Eagles forced overtime where the home team won 59-56.
Two-time all-conference selection Matt Hopkins had just two points in the first half as the Eagles held North Stokes to three points in the first quarter and eight in the second.
That defense allowed the Eagles to build a 21-11 halftime edge.
The Vikings started the third quarter with a 10-0 burst that tied the game at 21-all.
“This was one of those grind-it-out conference games,” said Coach Ken Eiswald. “We knew they weren’t going to go away, and we weren’t shooting well enough outside to put them away.
“We had trouble containing them off the dribble,” he admitted. And with the outside shots not falling, North Stokes had a chance to come back.
Hopkins exploded for 20 points in the second half. Freshman point guard Jackson Moorehead was scoreless in the first half, but added 10 in the second half. Those two scored 30 of the Vikings’ 39 points.
Surry Central struggled to stay in its offense, according to assistant coach Jeff Edmonds. When the team earned free throws, the shots weren’t falling.
Central scored just nine points in the third as the game was tied 30-all going into the fourth.
North Stokes held a four-point edge late in the game, but the Eagles were able to tie it up.
Luke Haymore rolled his ankle against Wilkes Central and was still slowed by it Tuesday, noted Edmonds. Luke missed all three of his three-point attempts in the game.
However, when the team needed points, he hit four free throws in the fourth quarter.
The bench gave Central quality time.
“Samuel Harris and Kenyon Martin played a lot of minutes and were really solid down the stretch,” said Eiswald. “The funny thing is that the time when we should have gotten rattled at the end of the game and overtime is when we ran our best offense all night long and were finishing them.”
Harris hit 4-5 shooting, including a bucket down the stretch. Martin gave the team 20 minutes, grabbing eight rebounds, passing out two assists and taking one charge. The bench gave 59 minutes of action with just three turnovers committed.
In the last 20 seconds, Zach Wilmoth was fouled and went to the line for two shots with the team trailing by three.
He missed the first shot and made the second for a 50-48 score.
Central pressed on the inbounds play and nearly got a five-second call. Someone got a hand on the ball and deflected it to Wilmoth.
Wilmoth banged right into Martin, but kept his feet and converted with about nine seconds left, said Eiswald.
Central played close on the ball and didn’t give up a good look at the end to force overtime.
Wilmoth led the team with 22 points, including 2-5 from long range. He also had 18 rebounds, three blocks and a steal.
Junior guard Brett Mosley was a perfect 7-7 from the field and made a foul shot for 15 points.
Central struggled from the line, converting just 11 of 28, 39 percent. Luckily, the Eagles dominated the boards, grabbing more than double what the Vikings did.
North Stokes (3-10) fell to 0-7 in the Northwest Conference, but this was its second close call. The Vikings lost to North Surry by just two points on Dec. 21.
Central improved to 8-6, 3-3 in the Northwest. That leaves the Eagles tied with South Stokes for third place behind 6-0 Winston-Salem Prep and West Stokes.
Prep and West Stokes will play Friday in King.