PILOT MOUNTAIN — Two very different teams are trending in two very different directions after Tuesday night.
Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy (15-3) won its 11th straight game with a 68-52 victory over East Surry. The Phoenix, ranked first in the most recent MaxPreps 1A standings, move to 6-0 in the Northwest 1A Athletic Conference.
The loss for East Surry (11-9) marks the team’s fourth straight defeat. The Cardinals started the season 10-3 before dropping six of their first seven conference games.
Despite playing in one of the toughest conferences in the state, with four NW1A teams in the top 10, East Surry is currently not predicted to make the class 1A playoffs by the Raleigh News & Observer.
Prep’s Chaz Gwyn and Daivien Williamson combined for 40 points in the Phoenix’s win.
East Surry fought to keep the first half competitive, down 36-27 after two quarters. But the Cardinals began the game by trading baskets with the Phoenix.
Four different Cardinals scored East Surry’s first four baskets to take an 8-5 lead. John Marion was the only Cardinal to score multiple times in the opening quarter, dropping 11 of the team’s first 18 points.
Among the giants, East’s Colby Guy grabbed two big defensive rebounds to give the Cards an early lead. This is more impressive considering Guy is listed at 5-foot-10 and all five starters for Prep are well over 6-feet.
The length of the Phoenix would come into play when the team continued to pound the ball inside. Other than two 3-pointers, the majority of Prep’s points were in the paint.
A triple from Gwyn gave the Phoenix a 20-18 lead going into the second quarter. Prep would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game.
Gwyn kept his momentum going with an NBA 3-pointer to extend the Phoenix lead. Two drives by Jefferson Boaz and Caleb Hearn brought the Cardinals within a point at 4:45.
A baseline jumper from KJ Watson sparked a 7-0 run for the Phoenix. Watson’s jumper was the only 2-point field goal for Prep in the second quarter.
Andre Gould’s squad switched from the paint to the perimeter with four 3-pointers in the second quarter, three of which were from Gwyn. The shooting barrage put Prep up 36-27 at the half.
Prep kept its foot on the gas into the second half by outscoring the Cardinals 12-5 in the first 6:30 of the third quarter. Gwyn continued to impress with seven points in the quarter, with Justice Goodloe adding four more to his total.
It was nearly two minutes into the quarter when a layup from Guy got the Cardinals on the board. It was another 90 seconds before Austin Pardue converted on 1-of-2 from the charity stripe and yet another two minutes before Boaz scored down low.
Down 48-32 with 1:18 left in the quarter, Jefferson Boaz scored five straight as the Cardinals hoped to get into single digits before the final quarter. This wouldn’t happen, however, as Gwyn halted East’s momentum with yet another 3-pointer.
Prep scored on back-to-back steals to start the fourth quarter to go up 57-39. A 3-pointer from Williamson extended the lead to 21 before East Surry finally scored on a Pardue triple.
East Surry wasn’t able to fight back, leading to both coaches clearing their benches. A bright spot for East Surry was when Chase Hewitt scored eight points in the final 1:47 for a final score of 68-52.
The Cardinals’ leading scorer was Boaz with 15, followed by Marion with 12, and Hewitt with 8.
Williamson led the way for the Phoenix with 21 points, followed by Gwyn with 19, and Goodloe with 12.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith