PILOT MOUNTAIN — This one had to hurt.
East Surry’s girls’ basketball team came in on a roll, having won nine out of 11 games, and seemed poised to take outright third place in the Northwest 1A Conference on Friday night with a win over visiting Bishop McGuinness.
The Lady Cardinals led by as many as seven points late in the third quarter, but the Villains were able to claw back into the game down the stretch, and pulled out a 50-48 victory in a final minute on a 3-pointer by Elizabeth Knox to complete a season sweep of East Surry and push the Lady Cards back into fourth place in the talent-laden league.
East Surry (11-8, 4-3 NW1A) had taken the lead late in the second quarter, and extended it to as much as 36-29 when Sarah Mann scored on a putback with about a minute and a half to go in the third. The Lady Cardinals led until Bridget Simmons hit a 12-footer for Bishop with two minutes left in the game, tying the score at 45. The Villains (9-10, 5-3) took a 47-45 lead when Emily Elliott made a scoop shot at 1:25, but Katlyn Creed looked set to be the heroine for East Surry when she answered with a 3-pointer at the other end, restoring the Lady Cardinals to a 48-47 lead. East Surry got a stop at the other end, but failed to add to their score and setting the stage for Knox’s shot that put the visitors back on top.
The Lady Cardinals had one more possession to try to tie or win the game, but the Villains played great defense, and when East finally got a shot with nine seconds to play, Creed was unable to convert. Bishop got the rebound, and the game was effectively over, as the Lady Cardinals had committed just four team fouls and were therefore unable even to send the Villains to the line.
The game featured plenty of strong defense on both sides, with Bethany Clayton making two blocked shots and Mann one in a first quarter that ended with the Villains on top 9-8. East Surry tied the game three times early in the second quarter, but never led until Maddi Pennington hit a 3-pointer with 4:17 left in the first half for a 17-15 advantage. Knox, who proved to be a thorn in East’s side throughout the night, scored the next five in a row and prompted Lady Cardinal coach Caleb Gilley to call timeout.
His team responded well, as Madison Bowman knocked down a three out of the break to tie the game at 22, and then Pennington hit a four-footer to again put East on top. It was 26-23 in favor of the home team at the break.
The Lady Cardinals moved the ball exceptionally well in a third quarter that saw Bishop call timeout twice in an effort to better defend against East Surry’s offense, but the Lady Cards had a 13-10 edge on the scoreboard and led 39-33 going to the fourth quarter.
Clayton led East Surry with 15 points. Pennington added 13 and Bowman nine, while Mann has 12 rebounds to go with her six points. Knox led Bishop with 23 points. Cammie Cooke added 11.
East Surry’s girls will host Walkertown on Tuesday night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.