EAST BEND — The 2017 Western Piedmont Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions are the Greyhounds of North Surry. In fact, the Lady Hounds pretty much made a clean sweep of things this season.
Mikaela Johnson, Taylor Duncan and Jessy Nichols were named to the 2017 All-Tournament Team, along with MVP Elle Sutphin. Johnson was named the WPAC Player of the Year, and Shane Slate added another to his stack of Coach of the Year plaques.
Maggie Hawks, Johnson and Sutphin were all named to the 2017 WPAC Women’s All-Conference Team. Taylor Duncan and Martha Holt both received Honorable Mention nods.
However, there remained one more bit of business to take care of on Friday night, and that was beating Forbush on its home floor to win the tournament crown. The Lady Hounds did this by a final margin of 48-38.
“We have got a lot of flexibility and a lot of kids that can contribute. We had some foul trouble tonight and different girls stepped up,” said Slate. “We had a couple combinations early that were not working. Defensively, we finally found a few girls that could do what we were looking for, and just having the ability to keep going down the line and find girls that can contribute is key.”
Forbush won the jump on Friday night, scored first, and carried the lead for nearly the first three minutes of the game. Elle Sutphin was fouled on while scoring and hit her first layup on the night and owned the first five Greyhound points. Jessy Nichols stole the ball and ran it back for a quick and easy layup to give North the lead by one. Then Sutphin hit two additional mid-range jumpers, and had nine of North Surry’s first 11 points midway through the first quarter. Nichols’ second make on the night was a shot behind the arc, which put the Hounds ahead by six. North Surry capped off the opening period with two points each from Duncan and Hawks to lead 18-10.
Things slowed down in the second quarter. North Surry only added seven points, and didn’t score at all in the last 3:15 before the half. However, the Lady Falcons logged just eight points in the second and still trailed by seven at the half.
Forbush scattered its’ first four points across the first two minutes into the third quarter. The Lady Hounds got a free throw from Sutphin, a Hawks layup and a basket from Shuff to stay in front, but Shuff was the last individual for North Surry to pose a score until the final minute and a half. Finally, Arin Bunker stole in Falcon paint and sent the ball ahead to Duncan, who was fouled while collecting a basket and a shot from the line. Then Johnson weaved around Forbush’s Parkley Hennings for two. Forbush’s Casey Brown hit a buzzer beater with a half-second on the clock, but the Greyhounds led 35-30 going into the final quarter.
Hawks blocked Calyn Davis’ shot to open up the last eight minutes of play, and then Hannah Moxley made her first score off an assist from Shuff. Even though Forbush posted the next four points, North Surry still led by five. Johnson sank two from the free throw line. Moxley made another shot and ended her night with four points, all in the final period. Nichols stole from a Falcon and sent a cross-court lob to an open Hawks under the hoop to put North up by six. Hawks posted her next score when she battled under the hoop with Forbush’s Brown. During the final two minutes of the game, North Surry led by eight points. Johnson’s last make helped her Greyhounds reach a 10-point lead. Johnson later added another point from the free-throw line during the last 27 seconds.
As the buzzer sounded, North Surry (21-5) remained unbeaten in conference and tournament play, stamping the WPAC regular season and title game championships.
Sutphin led the Greyhounds with 12 points. Johnson followed with 11 and Hawks added 8. Forbush’s Hennings and Brown each tallied 14 points.