KING — It was a tale of two halves when the Lady Cardinals traveled to West Stokes to take on the 4-1 Wildcats. East Surry played the Cats close, but ultimately became the fifth straight team to fall to the Cats by double digits, 65-48.
The Wildcats came out swinging by scoring 10 points in the first four minutes of play. Eugenia Marcelli and Sydney Cockerham would drive to the basket and dish to a teammate for a layup. That Cats ran this play three times to great success.
Meanwhile, the Cards struggled to get inside shots and had to settle for perimeter jumpers. It wasn’t until a Bethany Clayton layup that East Surry halted the Wildcats’ run.
Momentum shifted the way of East when Clayton recorded a pair of blocks, the second of which resulted in a full-court pass to Madison Bowman for the finish.
A 3-pointer by Katlyn Creed cut the Cats’ lead to 11-8 and forced a timeout by the home team. However, a pair of free throws from Dasia Lambert followed by a coast-to-coast layup by Creed capped off an 11-1 run and gave East Surry a 13-12 lead.
Shaylee Montgomery scored with seven seconds remaining to put the Cats back on top to end the first quarter.
Even with Clayton and Morgan Smith in foul trouble and Creed favoring her shoulder, five different Cardinals scored in the second quarter to keep the game competitive.
East Surry came out with a zone defense that limited the Wildcats’ opportunities in the paint. Baskets from Sarah Mann and Lambert on the other end gave the Lady Cards the advantage once again.
West Stokes ended its scoring struggles with a pair of free throws from Marcelli with 4:56 until halftime. Hannah Spainhour followed up the free throws with a 3-pointer to regain the lead. Marcelli and Spainhour combined for 16 of the Wildcats’ 17 points in the second quarter.
The Cardinals put the Wildcats in foul trouble and converted eight of 10 free throws in the quarter, led by Kalia Speaks’ four consecutive makes. Sheridan Kraft knocked down a jumper to end the half, cutting the lead to 30-26 in favor of the Wildcats.
Clayton returned to the court in the second half, but quickly picked up her fourth foul. It was during this time that West Stokes exploded for 24 points to the Cardinals’ 14.
Unlike the second quarter, six different Wildcats scored in the third. What started with a layup from Rachel Delcamp soon turned into a 9-2 West Stokes run.
East Surry emerged from a timeout at 5:01 and was able to score better, but still struggled to stop the Cats on defense. When East Surry scored down low, West Stokes scored down low. When Bowman knocked down a 3-pointer, Sydney Crumper responded with a 3-pointer.
Another trey ball from the Wildcats put the lead at double-digits. West led 54-40 at the end of the third.
Clayton started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer over Marcelli’s outstretched hand. On the opposite end of the floor, Mann had a number of blocks and defensive rebounds that limited the Wildcats scoring.
Clayton notched another triple to cut into the lead even more.
After finally scoring at 5:50, West Stokes moved the ball around to find a quality shot while also running the clock down. A 3-pointer from Taylor Covington was the precursor to the end.
Clayton managed to get fouled on a layup to try and bring life to the Cardinals, but it went away when the senior received her fifth foul.
Marcelli and the Cats slowed the game down to run out the clock. Spainhour led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Marcelli with 16, and Clayton and Lambert with 11.
West Stokes won its fifth straight game to advance to 5-1. The Lady Wildcats will host Carver on Friday.
East Surry falls to 2-4 and will host Surry Central Friday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith