KING — How are basketball games and candy bars alike? Sometimes, four quarters just isn’t enough.
Bad jokes out of the way, the East Surry Cardinals fell for the first time this season at the hands of the West Stokes Wildcats. The Cats forced overtime after trailing for most of the game, pulling out a 72-67 against the previously unbeaten Cardinals.
The Wildcats’ duo of Noah and Isaac Spainhour led the comeback with a combined 49 points. Noah led all scorers with 29 points, followed by East Surry’s Jefferson Boaz with 27 and Isaac Spainhour with 20.
West Stokes scored seven of the game’s last nine points in overtime to escape with the win and even its record at 3-3.
The first quarter was relatively back-and-forth, with each team responding to the other’s basket. East Surry started with a trio of free throws from Caleb Hearn, but Noah Spainhour tied it up with a quick 3-pointer for the Wildcats. A jumper from Austin Pardue was followed by a similar shot from West Stokes’ Alex Puckett.
Neither team quite gained an advantage until about four minutes in. It wasn’t until a Boaz 3-pointer that the Cardinals went on a 9-0 run to go up 16-8 with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
East Surry was able to pull away by making defensive rebounds that denied West Stokes second chance opportunities.
The Cats came out of a timeout and scored back-to-back baskets off Cardinal turnovers. A pair of free throws cut the lead to two.
A steal and dunk from Stephen Gosnell put East Surry up four to end the first quarter.
Both squads turned up their interior defense to begin the second quarter by forcing outside shots. Isaac Spainhour struck first with a 3-pointer, quickly followed up by a triple from Boaz.
Noah Spainhour finally penetrated the Cardinal defense for an and-1 layup to bring West Stokes within one at 21-20. East Surry’s Pardue and John Marion extended the lead once again with a pair of layups. The Cards’ Colby Guy slowed the pace and made a number of passes before a shot was taken. A free throw from Guy put the Cardinals up 26-20 at the midpoint of the quarter.
Noah Spainhour took over for the Wildcats in the second quarter, recording 10 of the Cats’ 16 in the period. Noah kept the team in the game by attacking the basket and drawing fouls.
East Surry maintained the lead being in the bonus as well. Trevor Hauser was sent to the line for 1-and-1, and despite missing the first shot, got his own rebound and was fouled once again. This time, Hauser knocked down both free throws to make the score 35-30 at the half.
Coming out of halftime, play was the sloppiest it had been all game. A combined six team fouls were committed and only six combined points were scored in the first three minutes of play. Both teams committed a number of turnovers in this span.
A Boaz turnaround put the Cardinals up 44-36 before the Spainhour brothers combined for six straight points to cut the lead to a pair. East Surry once again pulled away, this time due to the Wildcats fouling.
West Stokes committed its seventh team foul with 1:23 left in the third, letting Hearn and Pardue go to the line to bring the Cardinal lead back to five to begin the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats appeared to be falling back into the same scenario of the first quarter, when they were only able to get up one shot per possession. Marion scored the first basket for the Cardinals and then snagged a quick defensive rebound on the other end, embodying the Cardinals’ hustle advantage.
This would soon change, however, due to a series of turnovers by the Cards. John Brooke revitalized the Wildcats on the offensive boards with a put-back of a missed 3-pointer.
West Stokes also took advantage of the Cardinals’ fouling situation, scoring their next five points on the charity stripe to tie the game at 50 with 4:42 left in regulation. This was the first time West didn’t trail the Cardinals since midway through the first quarter.
Marion made sure East Surry didn’t surrender the lead with an easy bucket down low. Isaac Spainhour countered by going coast-to-coast and finishing a contested layup. The Cats then forced an East Surry turnover and gave Isaac an open 3-pointer to put West Stokes ahead 55-52 with 3:56 remaining.
East Surry emerged from a timeout and made a pair of free throws, courtesy of Boaz. A defensive stop and basket from Boaz put East Surry ahead again, but a Tyler Smith free throw tied the game at 56.
Pressure at the stripe continued, as Boaz knocked down two straight to put the Cards up two with a minute remaining. East Surry stopped the Cats on defense and saw Marion go the line with 51.9 remaining. Marion knocked down one of two making the East lead 59-56.
Noah Spainour was fouled on the ensuing Wildcats possession but only made a single free throw. This forced West Stokes to foul East Surry’s Hearn. He made one of two, putting the Cardinals up 60-57 with 24.4 seconds left on the clock.
The Wildcats stormed down the court and found Elan Muniz in the corner for a game-tying three that sent the student section crazy. East Surry had 15 seconds to score but weren’t able to, sending the game to overtime.
Similar to the fourth quarter, a sizable portion of overtime was spent on the free-throw line. The teams traded points until a steal and layup by Brooke. Now up 66-65, the Wildcats would not surrender the lead for the rest of the game.
West Stokes pulled away to end the game with a 72-67 victory.
The Cards and Cats won’t have to wait long for a rematch because West Stokes travels to East Surry on December 19.
The Cardinals first loss puts them at 5-1, with the next contest being at home versus Surry Central on Friday.
West Stokes advances to 3-3 with the win and will host Carver on Friday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith