A slow start would prove detrimental to the North Surry Lady Greyhounds in their 41-38 loss to Wilkes Central.
The Hounds came into their home opener with a 2-3 record. In the first eight minutes of play on their home court, North Surry was only able to put four points on the board to their opponent’s three.
During the Lady Hounds’ shooting struggles, a layup from Mikaela Johnson marked the senior’s 1,000th career point. Johnson was honored at halftime for her achievement.
Johnson and Martha Holt were the forwards for the Hounds but were outsized by the Eagles’ Malaya Cowles. Cowles was the defensive anchor for her team, boasting a trio of blocks in the first quarter alone.
Scoring picked up on both sides in the second quarter, with baskets being exchanged by the Eagles’ Erica Wyatt and the Hounds’ Hannah Moxley.
North Surry began taking more jump shots to avoid the reach of Cowles to much success. With the scored tied at 10 apiece not long into the quarter, however, Cowles brought her dominance to the offensive front as well.
The freshman was able to post up down low as well as take defenders off the dribble into the paint. It wasn’t until Cowles picked up her third foul that the Hounds were able to stop her.
Even without Cowles, Wilkes Central continued to rack up points. Lacey Triplett and Hailey Workman led the Eagles on a 13-3 run to end the half up 23-13.
The third quarter saw the Eagles continue to flourish with Cowles on the bench. Wilkes Central slowed the game down by moving the ball around the perimeter.
Wilkes Central outscored North Surry 4-2 in the first 4:26 of the third quarter. Following an Eagle timeout, the visitors increased their lead to a game-high 13.
Holt hit back-to-back elbow jumpers to close the lead to 30-21 as the third quarter came to a close.
The fourth quarter hosted more back-and-forth scoring that led to a 39-28 Wilkes Central lead. With less than four minutes to play, North Surry went on its’ biggest run of the game.
A 3-pointer by Moxley cut the lead to eight before a North Surry timeout. Taylor Duncan intercepted the Eagles’ pass out of the timeout to give Tiana Shuff an easy basket.
With Cowles now out with her fourth foul, the Hounds continued to reduce the Eagle lead. Another three, this time by Holt, brought the home team within three. Jessi Shelnutt’s basket with 27 seconds to play wrapped up a 9-0 Greyhound run.
Madison German ended the Hounds’ run with a made free throw. German rebounded her second free throw with just 4.5 seconds remaining and set up a teammate to be fouled and ice the game.
The Lady Hounds fall to 2-4 and will travel to East Surry on Friday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith