PILOT MOUNTAIN — Clinging to a two-point lead in the fourth quarter against East Surry, Shane Slate trusted his guards to control the action in the stretch run.
The strategy paid off as the Lady Hounds pulled out a 37-32 road victory and snapped a two-game losing streak in the early part of the 2017-18 season.
With 5:09 left in the game, senior Martha Holt got inside and scored a basket to give her team a 31-28 lead. The Lady Cardinals’ Bethany Clayton made one of two free throws at the other end, but when North got the ball back, Slate decided he was tired of playing against East Surry’s zone defense, and ordered his team into a delay game.
The Lady Hounds held the ball for the next 2:26 without ever attempting a shot and without East Surry either changing defenses or electing to foul a weak free-throw shooter, an option since the Lady Cardinals were at six team fouls at the time. With 2:32 to play, Slate called time-out, and when North came back onto the court, East Surry had switched to man defense.
The Lady Hounds now elected to play. Mikaela Johnson, who led North with 16 points, missed a shot 17 seconds later, but the ball went out of bounds off East Surry. She tried again at the 1:43 mark and hit a two-footer to make it 33-29. After East Surry freshman Dasia Lambert missed a shot at the other end, North’s Tiana Shuff made both ends of a one-and-one to put her team up by six with 80 seconds to play.
With the score the same and time ticking under 35 seconds, the North Surry cheerleaders started chanting that they had won the game, but Clayton wasn’t ready to fold, knocking down a 3-pointer to cut the Lady Hounds’ lead back to 35-32. East regained possession after Johnson made one of two at the line, but threw the ball away down by four and that was the ballgame.
North Surry held a narrow lead for most of the game. The Lady Hounds were up 17-11 in the second quarter, but then Sarah Mann got inside for two and Clayton scored back-to-back baskets to tie the game with 2:40 to go before halftime. Two free throws by Lambert gave East the lead, but Hannah Moxley hit a 15-footer and then scored off a fastbreak to put the Lady Hounds back in front at the half, 21-19.
The home team held the lead three times in the third quarter, but never by more than a point. After Clayton hit a runner in the lane with 2:35 left in the period, East Surry didn’t make another shot for exactly 10 minutes, until Clayton’s 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining.
Moxley added eight points for North Surry (3-4) and Shuff tallied six.
Clayton led East Surry with 12 points. Madison Bowman added six and Morgan Smith five.
The Lady Hounds will play Wednesday night at East Forsyth. The Lady Cardinals, who fell to 1-2 after a 52-46 loss at East Wilkes the night before, return to action on Tuesday night at Surry Central.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.