Surry Central came into Saturday’s game with Mount Airy with plenty of motivation.
A win for the Golden Eagles would break a three-game skid, give Central its first road win of the season, and get back at Mount Airy for a 76-63 earlier in the season.
Unfortunately for Central, Caleb Arrington got the hot hand and never cooled down.
Just one day after “Air Canada” Vince Carter celebrated his 41st birthday, “Air Caleb” nearly reached the 41-point mark. Arrington scored 34 points in three quarters of Saturday’s game, including an incredible seven 3-pointers.
Arrington’s performance led the Bears to a 83-50 victory, their 13th of the season.
Of the 32 game-time minutes, Surry Central held the lead for about 30 seconds. A 3-pointer by Nolan McMillen on the Eagles’ first possession gave Central its only lead of the night.
Arrington got on the board with a triple of his own to tie the game. Mount Airy then capitalized on back-to-back turnovers by Central to take the lead.
The Eagles were well over their season average of 16.7 turnovers, giving the ball away 22 times against the Bears.
Noah Cox evened the score at five apiece on a pick-and-roll with Brandon Norman. Just when things looked good for the Eagles, Mount Airy went on a 10-2 run led by Greg and Donavon Greene.
Other than Norman’s nine first-quarter points, the Eagles struggled to score. With Mount Airy shooting lights out, this was a recipe for disaster for Central.
Mount Airy led 25-16 after one and showed no signs of slowing down. Ryan Graham joined the scoring barrage with nine points in the second quarter. Graham’s nine, with assistance from Arrington’s 13, helped give the Bears their highest scoring quarter of the evening.
Blake Woods, Ryan Martin, and Mason Wood all got their wheels turning in the second quarter for Surry Central. The problem wasn’t with scoring, however, but with stopping Mount Airy’s offense. Trading baskets just wasn’t cutting it.
Big Mason Corn pulled down a number of offensive boards to give the Bears second chances on the way to their 28-point quarter. Mount Airy (13-4) led 53-31 at the half.
Just like the first quarter, McMillen opened the third quarter by striking first. Once again, Mount Airy responded with a big run to further extend the lead. The Bears outscored the Eagles 15-2 over the next four minutes to take a 68-35 lead.
Inside of four minutes, Central found it harder and harder to score. After Martin’s basket at 5:26, the only remaining points came at the charity stripe. Both Norman and Dakota Sumner tallied three made free throws in the quarter.
Up 75-41 at the start of the fourth quarter, Mount Airy took Arrington out of the game. The second-string entered the game for both teams to play the final eight minutes.
Jackson Heath made waves with five fourth-quarter points for the Bears and a number of defensive stops. Isaac Washington was also a force to be reckoned with on the low block.
Central continued to rely on foul shots to score. Norman, Woods, Josh Cave, and Alex Hooker scored the Eagles’ free throws, while Sumner notched the only field goal of the quarter. Central made just field goals in the second half.
The 83-50 win is Mount Airy’s fifth in a row. Central (5-14) loses its fourth straight.
For the Bears, Arrington led all scorers with 34, followed by Graham with 15 and Donavon Greene with 10.
Norman led Surry Central with 18, followed by McMillen with seven, and Woods with six.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith