Shorthanded Surry boys can’t buy a break

By John Cate - [email protected]

Surry Homeschool’s boys basketball team doesn’t seek out bad luck.

On the other hand, it seems like misfortune goes out of its way to find the Runnin’ Patriots.

The injury-riddled team has dropped seven games since right before the Christmas break, never once having its entire varsity roster on hand for an entire game, and relying on middle school players to fill the gaps in every one of those contests.

If there’s any solace for head coach Chris Anderson, it’s that his team has competed hard in every game, even in the face of repeated setbacks.

“We actually had the whole team back for part of one game, and then a kid got hurt again,” he said. “Right now, we’re looking at February before we might have everyone back together. The effort has been there, but it’s hard to win a game when you’re this shorthanded.”

Anderson used a Dec. 15 game against Noble Academy as an example of what the Runnin’ Patriots have faced. Surry had four varsity players available that night. Jordan Gottfried, Logan Anderson, Josh Eacho and Jacob Mabe all played the entire 32 minutes, while three middle-schoolers rotated between the other spot in the lineup. Surry fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter and then essentially battled Noble to a draw the rest of then night, losing 60-44. Gottfried led the team with 20 points.

“Those kids played the whole game and put forth a tremendous defensive effort without getting into foul trouble,” said Anderson. “We got behind early and just could never catch back up.”

In a game later that week, the coach unwittingly did his own team in.

After the outmanned Patriots lost to Forsyth Home Educators in the opening round of the Calvary Christmas Tournament on Dec. 18, they faced the host school in the next evening. In that contest, Gottfried appeared to have tied the game at 45 on a 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining. Unfortunately, Coach Anderson had called a time-out, which was granted by the referee right before Gottfried let fly. The time-out negated the shot.

“I felt terrible,” he said. “We had five varsity players that night and they all played basically the whole game; I played a middle school kid for a few minutes. They stayed in the game even though they’d all played the whole game against Forsyth the night before.

“It only would have taken us to overtime, but I wanted them to have five more minutes to fight for a win.”

Eacho had a career-high 20 points in the game, taking up the slack when Calvary decided to focus its defense on Gottfried, who had just two (official) points on the night. Logan Anderson added 10 and Luke Childress nine.

Surry has also lost games against Salem Baptist, Oak Level Christian, Asheville Home Educators, and Cabarrus Homeschool since the New Year, along with an exhibition game against a team from Australia. The Patriots did get some good news before the Asheville game, with Joe Guillon returning to the roster after a long absence. Against Asheville, he had a season-high 11 points. However, the team’s other big man, 6’4” Auburn Thompson, is expected to miss up to a month before he can come back. This has put the team’s entire inside load on the shoulders of 6’7” Luke Childress, who was also out with a minor injury in the loss to Noble.

“I’ve never been involved with anything like this before, but we’re going to keep playing and trying to win,” said Coach Anderson.

Surry will face High Point Home Educators tonight at the Deep River Rec Center in High Point. The game will feature the boys teams only. The Surry boys and girls will host Guilford on Tuesday at the Armfield Center.

By John Cate

[email protected]

Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.

Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.

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