WINSTON-SALEM — The days before and after Christmas have turned into a de facto shootout between the boys basketball teams and Forsyth County and Surry County. And the little guys are more than holding their own.
Three days after the end of the SouthData Winter Classic, the teams from Mount Airy and North Surry were right back in action at the Frank Spencer Holiday Classic on the day after Christmas, facing more 4A schools from the metro Winston-Salem area in their own backyard, and once again defeating them.
The Greyhounds, ranked No. 2 in the 2A ranks by MaxPreps.com, earned a spot in the Champion bracket for the three-day event and advanced to tonight’s semifinals with a come-from-behind 69-66 victory over North Forsyth, MaxPreps’ top-ranked 3A team, in the Reagan High School gym.
North Surry (11-1) will face the top seed of the Champion Bracket, West Forsyth tonight at 7 p.m. at the Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum. The Titans (10-1), who are the state’s top-ranked team regardless of classification according to MaxPreps, competed at the SouthData last week and needed a late push to get past East Surry, 63-52. However, in their first game of the Frank Spencer, West Forsyth outscored South Stokes 26-2 in the fourth quarter and won going away, 77-46.
The winner of that game will face either Mount Tabor or Winston-Salem Prep in the championship on Wednesday night at 8:45 p.m.
Mason Hawks led the Hounds with 35 points in Monday night’s win. North Forsyth, which had also played in the SouthData and beaten Mount Airy by 13 points in a game played in North’s gym, outscored North Surry 25-19 in the second quarter and led 39-32 at intermission. However, Hawks kept firing and the Hounds stayed close, chopping the lead down to three with a quarter to go and overtaking the Vikings (9-3) down the stretch for the win.
Tabor and Prep will play in tonight’s final game at the Joel Coliseum at 8:45 for the right to face either the Hounds or Titans in the final. If North Surry reaches the championship game, it will have a chance to win its first Frank Spencer title in 31 years. If they lose to West Forsyth, the Hounds will go back to Reagan on Wednesday afternoon to play for third place.
However, North won’t be the only local team represented in Wake Forest’s gym tonight. Mount Airy earned a spot in the Pepsi-Cola bracket of the Frank Spencer, where the Granite Bears earned a date with Glenn on Monday night.
The brackets had been set long ago, and Mount Airy (4-3) was seeded fifth overall in the Pepsi bracket even though it has outperformed fourth-seeded Glenn (4-6) so far this season. Other than forcing the Bears to wear their road jerseys, it made no difference on Monday — Mount Airy essentially led from wire to wire and handed the Bobcats an 82-64 defeat at Walkertown High School.
The Bears led by five after a quarter and by 10, at 37-27, at the break. Glenn kept pace with Mount Airy in a third quarter that saw each team score 18 more points, but the Bears put it away in the fourth quarter.
Will Sparks led Mount Airy with 28 points and five assists, helping the Bears earn a spot in the Pepsi bracket semifinals at Joel this afternoon at 4 p.m. against a familiar foe. For the second time in less than a week, Mount Airy will face Reagan. The Raiders (8-4), who are the top seed in the bracket, held off Atkins 57-50 in their opener.
The teams faced each other last Friday on day two of the SouthData Classic at North Surry, and Reagan led 39-33 late in the third quarter before the Bears went on a 27-4 run and won going away, 60-45.
If Mount Airy can beat the Raiders again, it will play for the championship on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Joel Coliseum. If it loses, Mount Airy will play for third place at 2:30 against either second-seeded Parkland or third-seeded R.J. Reynolds.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.