PILOT MOUNTAIN — The East Surry girls hosted and defeated the North Stokes Vikings during the first round of the Northwest 1A basketball conference tournament, earning itself a date in tonight’s semifinals. East Surry will take on Mount Airy tonight at 6:30.
The Cardinals were down by four points heading into the final eight minutes of play, but exploded with a 30-point fourth quarter and won the game by 17 points, 67-50.
In the first quarter, East Surry posted 14 points and led by as many as five. East Surry won the jump and posted the first score. Bethany Clayton sank one from the free throw line to start things off for the Cardinals. Madison Bowman also scored early on with a jumper right inside the arc. Maddison Pennington fed to Sarah Mann and the Cardinals led by one for nearly the next two minutes. The Vikings tied the game at 8, but Chyanne Fresch scored a free throw to give East the lead back. Pennington and Clayton each added another basket for East Surry to held finish out the quarter.
The only quarter that North Stokes outscored East Surry was the second quarter. Bowman hit a jumper at the top of the key, but there was no other score made by any Cardinal. The Vikings then went on a 14-0 run leading into the final three minutes before the half. After that, Fresch and Morgan Smith each registered two points from the line, but North Stokes still led by eight points with less than a minute and a half before the break. Smith converted two more shots from the line and Kaila Speaks chipped in with three points as the quarter ended, but North Stokes responded it and it was still a surprising eight-point lead for the Vikings at halftime.
Clayton scored the first basket of the second half, but East Surry did not score again until four minutes later. By then North Stokes had a 10-point lead. At this point, the Lady Cardinals began to rally. Pennington made three swishes from the line and Clayton another as the last two minutes approached. Kaitlyn Creed’s first make on the night happened to be a 3-pointer, and at one of the more crucial times in the game. With Creed’s make, the Cardinals were back within four of North Stokes heading into to the final eight minutes of play, at 41-37.
The Vikings collected the fourth quarter’s first basket, but East Surry kept coming. Clayton was fouled on back-to-back drives and picked up three points from her separate trips at the line. Creed struck again with another three-point basket. Pennington also made a three, and East Surry held the lead by one point midway through the fourth quarter. At the 4:13 mark, Creed swished her third three-pointer, which was then followed by another. All of Creed’s makes up to this point in the ballgame had all been behind the arc, amassing 12 points. Less than a minute later, Clayton hit another basket and finished her night with 14. During the next two minutes of play, Creed contributed with another three-point make and two free throws, and Pennington added four more points. Starting with Creed’s first 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, the Lady Cardinals went on a 17-0 run. With less than a minute on the clock, East Surry led 61-50. Creed posted another five points, and the Cardinals flew into the second round of the Northwest 1A tournament with a 17-point win.
In the win, Creed led the Cardinals with 21 points, Clayton logged 14 and Pennington 13.
“I felt that throughout two and a half quarters we were just going through the motions and not really giving much effort,” said East Surry coach Caleb Gilley. “Finally, we had a sense of urgency and we got a lead and never gave it back. One thing that helped us was that we hit the three ball really well, another thing was our free throws. Defensively we kicked it up and didn’t allow them to have easy shots the rest of the game.”
The East Surry girls will take on Mount Airy today at 6:30.