KING — North Surry sought vengeance on Friday night, and with help from the Hounds’ offensively dominant third quarter, they were able to even the score on the Wildcats with a 68-63 road victory.
On Jan. 3, West Stokes handed North Surry its first conference loss on the 2016-17 season, by a score of 70-63. It was the second year in a row that the Wildcats had upset the Greyhounds in their own gym, and just like last year, there was no doubt that North wanted payback when the teams faced each other again.
Going in, West Stokes reigned as the top team in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference, thanks to its earlier victory. In the statewide rankings done by MaxPreps.com, the Hounds were the state’s fourth-ranked team and the Wildcats were tenth.
“I told the boys that we weren’t going to play to a 70-point game, because in this (West Stokes) building, it doesn’t happen, and that this game tonight was going to be in the 50s and 60s,” said North Surry coach Kevin King. “We have to be able to value every possession. It wasn’t very pretty. They (West Stokes) play a very fundamental and very sound game and hard-nosed game. But, tonight there were two teams who want to play contrasting styles, and two teams with some very talented kids. It was a great game to watch.”
North Surry (16-4, 5-1 WPAC) won the tip off and the game ensued. Thirty seconds into play, Devan Hairston struck first for either squad, and made the first Wildcat score. Kendal Tucker responded found nothing but net, for his first three-point score. Hairston answered with a three, and then Josh Turner got in on the action. He went 1-for-2 from the line and then made a bucket in the paint to give West an 8-3 lead midway through the first. Tucker swished another three, but seconds later, Turner hit another two Wildcat baskets to extend the lead over the Greyhounds.
It was all Tucker for North Surry until the final minute and a half, when Carter Phillips was fouled on the drive finding the net. With 35 seconds left on the clock, Isaac Spainhour found an open Josh Turner under the hoop for a reverse layup, and the Wildcats regained the lead. Mason Hawks was the second Hound to be fouled on the drive, while scoring and taking one from the line. Hawks evened the score at 14-14 with his three points to finish out the first quarter.
For West Stokes (14-6, 5-1) in the first, it was a show from Devan Hairston and Josh Turner. They were the only two individuals to post a score. Turner had nine and Hairston five.
It was all Wildcats as they posted five points during the first minute into the second quarter. A layup from Turner and a three-pointer from Isaac Spainhour put West on top. A minute later, Hawks collected a shot behind the arc. Hairston hit two from the line soon after. Tucker tried to post up and shoot from behind the arc, twice, but each time, was met by a Wildcat defender. Undaunted, the senior instead decided to weave through the paint and lay it up. He was fouled on the drive and got his three points the old-fashioned way. Midway through the quarter, Tucker netted another basket, off a feed from Hawks. However, Hairston and Phillips each responded for West Stokes, and the Wildcats held a four-point edge going into the break.
Tucker, who attained 1,000 career points for his career during the night, netted his third three-pointer of the night to open the second half. Phillips went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line and Hounds were on top by one, but only for a quick stint. Hairston posted a quick four in the paint. Casey Hull stepped up big for North Surry in the third, and to start his production he clinched two from the free-throw line.
At the 4:18 mark, Turner stole the ball and appeared to be taking it coast-to-coast before being by Hawks as he was making his way to the rim. He got the two points from the line and then turned around 30 seconds later and dunked providing insurance, pushing the lead to five. Hull and Hairston both netted a basket, but then things swung back in North’s direction. With three minutes left, Hawks found his second net behind the arc. The Greyhounds soon pulled within two on a jumper by Hull. Noah Spainhour entered the scoresheet with a 3-pointer for West. Tucker did the same and the Hounds were again down by two. Hawks stole the ball and became a solo man down the court, tying the score at 44.
All of a sudden, the Greyhounds had their best lockdown defense on the night. Phillips also stole and ran his back for a layup. There were 10 seconds on the clock when Jacob Harrison tried to beat the clock by throwing the ball towards the basket, but North Surry came up with it and Ethan Simmons ended up finding the net to make it 48-44 North Surry with a quarter to go.
“The biggest thing was that we get to the point in some of these games, where we will start to trust each other,” said King. “Casey was huge scoring down the stretch. Ethan was huge guarding the point guard, and Chase too… all these guys we call ‘role-players.’ When your number is called, be ready to step in and play.”
Turner opened the fourth quarter with two from the line, but Phillips hit a jumper, and then he answered Hairston as well. Over the next few minutes, Casey Hull scored six for the Hounds and Hairston scored four for West Stokes. Noah Spainhour clinched two from the line and Turner soon added two points, but North Surry still led by three with two minutes to play.
In the stretch run, the Greyhounds called on Tucker, who went 3-for-4 from the line. Isaac Spainhour made a three, but it wasn’t enough. During the last minute, Chase Chandler found an open Tucker. Tucker went to the line with his make, to put the Hounds on top by five. Simmons then made three of four free throws in the last 17 seconds to clinch it. Spainhour hit a last three in the closing seconds, but time expired with a 68-63 victory for North Surry.
In addition to Tucker’s 1,000th career point, and Hawks topped North Surry’s all-time assists record, adding 10 on Friday night. Tucker led the Hounds with 20 points. Phillips added 16, and the two each had six rebounds. Hull scored 14, Hawks 11 and Simmons 7. Hawks and Phillips each had two steals.
West Stokes’s top scorers were Hairston at 23, Turner with 21 and Isaac Spainhour with 11.
Conference play continues for both squads next week. North Surry will host Carver on Tuesday, and West Stokes will travel to Forbush.