Senior Night at North Surry High School was intended as a celebration of, and a victory lap for, the nine seniors who have formed the core of six different championship teams, dating back to youth ball in 2008.
For a while, the visitors from Forbush made a ballgame of it, but the Falcons were ultimately outscored for the second time this season, as the Greyhounds used 56-point second half to run away with a 94-74 victory and the outright championship in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference. It was the third straight league title for the seniors — Carter Phillips, Mason Hawks, Kendal Tucker, Casey Hull, Chase Chandler, Ethan Simmons, Jacob Harrison, Avery Smith and Reid Stanley.
North Surry (20-4, 9-1 WPAC) found out midway through the third quarter that it had to beat Forbush in order to secure the outright conference title and the top seed for the upcoming conference and state tournaments. The Hounds came in with a one-game lead on West Stokes in the conference standings, and when the Wildcats knocked off Surry Central on Friday, North’s battle with Forbush took on more importance.
Fortunately, at the time, the Hounds were starting to take command against a Falcons team that had fought hard, built a seven-point lead in the first quarter, and trailed just 39-38 at intermission. The second half had begun with Hawks hitting a 3-pointer, followed by two free throws from Tucker and a short jumper in the lane from Phillips to give North its largest lead to that point, at 46-38. Logan Lineberry responded with an old-fashioned three-point play for Forbush, But on this night, the Falcons had absolutely no answer for Phillips, who went off on Senior Night to the tune of 38 points — 18 in the closely-contested first half and then 20 more in the second. Over the balance of the third quarter, Phillips added a another three immediately after Lineberry’s score, two free throws, and yet another three at the 3:27 mark to make it 57-44. The best Forbush could do was hold its own for the rest of the period and take the game to the fourth quarter down 69-57.
The final period began, of course, with Phillips dialing long distance again. Hawks followed with a reverse layup. After Forbush’s Travis Gardner scored for his team, Phillips struck again, hitting from the right wing and forcing Falcon coach Jody Christopherson to signal for a time-out. North Surry kept pouring it on, with Hawks and Phillips going most of the damage. Forbush got within 86-74 with the ball at the 2:10 mark, but missed three 3-point attempts before the Hounds got it back and scored at the other end. The Falcons didn’t score again, and the game ended on a long 3-pointer by Stanley.
The Falcons started the game well, taking a 6-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Jared Bowman at the 6:20 mark of the first quarter. Forbuish had its largest lead at 19-12 on a three-point basket and foul from Josh Wood late in the first quarter, set up by a dish from teammate Tony Douglas. However, Hawks and Phillips hit back-to-back threes and the Falcons led by just two after one quarter.
Phillips gave North its first lead at 6:47 of the second quarter, when he followed Tucker’s old-fashioned three with one of his own for a 23-21 Hound lead. However, the Falcons responded, and tied the game once and regained the lead at 29-28 on a three by Lance Kennedy. Two threes by Gardner in the final minute of regulation were enough to pull Forbush within one at intermission.
Hawks had 18 in his final regular-season game for North Surry. Tucker added 15, and Hall 14.
Wood led Forbush with 18 points. Gardner and Lineberry added 14 and Bowman 10.
Both teams will compete in the WPAC Tournament next week, with pairings and schedules to be determined.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.