Mount Airy could barely buy a jump shot for much of its Friday night game against visiting South Iredell.
Fortunately, the defending 1A state champions have plenty of other ways that they can win a basketball game.
With the shots not falling, the Lady Bears relied on their defense and passing skills in order to crush the visiting Vikings 62-17 and even their season slate at 1-1.
“I think probably the biggest thing we can take from this is that we had 20 assists. Any coach will by happy seeing their team sharing the ball,” said Mount Airy head coach Angela Mayfield, whose team opened the season on Tuesday with a double-overtime loss to West Forsyth, the state’s top-ranked 4A team. “The second half was a lot better than the first. The shots weren’t falling much tonight, but we just told them to keep working hard, and that will come.”
Mount Airy trailed 6-5 midway through the first quarter when it took the lead for good on back-to-back easy baskets by Asherah Smith running out on the fastbreak. The senior forward would end up leading everyone with 25 points while dominating inside against the much taller Viking post players.
After getting the lead, the game was a slow grind for the rest of the first half, as the Lady Bears wreaked havoc on the South Iredell offense, but continued having problems getting their shots to fall. However, when it came to running the floor and hitting open players streaking to the basket, the Lady Bears were every bit themselves. Shaunae Sawyers, Jo Snow and Smith all dropped dimes in a second quarter that saw Mount Airy break the game open and led 30-12 at intermission.
The third quarter began with a show by Smith and Snow. They teamed up on a full-court pass from Snow to Smith for two points, and then Smith worked her way inside for two more before Snow finally knocked down a three from the left wing to make it 37-15 with 5:13 left in the period. After each player scored another basket, Sawyers knocked down her first trey despite being fouled in the act of shooting. Before the quarter was out, Arry Ward got in on the fun with a three of her own, and the Lady Bears led 51-16 with one quarter left to play.
The game didn’t reach a 40-point lead and mercy-rule status until about two minutes remained, and Mayfield didn’t mind that, as it gave her a chance to get everyone a lot of playing time.
“We’re still working out some kinks and clearing out some cobwebs and getting into game mode,” she said. “It was nice to get some playing time for some folks who are going to be important to us down the road.”
Ward was the Lady Bears’ second-leading scorer, with 10. Sawyers and Snow each had seven.
Mount Airy’s girls return to action on Tuesday night at North Surry.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.