It may just have been a tune-up for the Lady Bears’ chance to lock up the Northwest Conference title tonight, but the state’s third-ranked 1A team was all business on Monday night.
Mount Airy jumped to an early 15-2 lead against visiting Elkin in a late-season nonconference game that had originally been scheduled for November, and rolled to a 73-40 victory for its 21st victory of the year, matching the Lady Bears’ total from all of last season.
Mount Airy (21-1 overall) used two steals from Asherah Smith and one by Madeline Mayfield to get the first nine points of the game before the Lady Elks found the bottom of the basket for the first time. Then Shaunae Sawyers got in on the fun with a 3-pointer, followed by a play where she stole an Elkin inbounds pass and hit a scoop shot while taking a hard foul. Her bonus free throw gave the Lady Bears a 13-point lead with 4:43 still left in the opening period.
After the early burst, the Lady Elks (9-13) settled in and started to fight back, with Kylie Thomas making back-to-back baskets and her team fighting Mount Airy on more or less even terms for the next eight minutes. When Chloe Osborne hit a three for Elkin at the 4:43 mark of the second quarter, the Mount Airy lead was just 31-15.
Sawyers was a serious thorn in the side of the Lady Elks in making any attempt to cut into Mount Airy’s lead. The sophomore scored 15 first-half points in staking her team to a 45-24 halftime lead.
After intermission, both teams treated the second half nearly as if it were a scrimmage, likely because both have important conference games coming up later in the week. Much of the fourth quarter was played with a full team of reserves for each team.
Thomas led Elkin with 18 points. Osborne had nine, with Cameron Beals, Corrin Shores, Samantha Cozart and Catie Beth Brown all collecting two.
For the Lady Bears, two third-quarter 3-pointers made Jo Snow the high scorer with 18 points. Sawyers was next with her 15, followed with Smith with 12, and Shalin Revels, Bailey Flippen and Mayfield with six each.
Mount Airy hosts East Surry tonight and will clinch the NW1A outright regular-season crown with a win. Elkin travels to East Wilkes tonight.