PILOT MOUNTAIN — A six-game winning streak filled with blowouts against fellow N.C. Home Educators Athletic Conference teams has stamped the Surry Homeschool girls as a state championship contender.
One thing is for certain, though. The Lady Patriots are glad they won’t have to go through Lauren Bevis to get there.
Surry put a six-game winning streak on the line Tuesday night in a non-conference matchup with Bevis and her Forsyth Home Educators team, who aren’t competing in the NCHEAC this season and who came into the night with a 23-1 overall record. If the Hawks were an NCHSAA 1A school, they would be ranked seventh in the state by MaxPreps.com.
As they were in their first meeting with Forsyth, back on Dec. 19, the Lady Patriots were competitive, but unable to pull off the upset as Bevis scored 37 points in a 66-52 victory for her team.
“We held her to 37,” laughed Surry head coach Todd Hill. “Seriously, we’re a pretty good man-to-man team and we played man all night, but she’s hard to stop. I’m glad we won’t see her in the playoffs.”
Bevis, a 5’6” junior guard, averages more than 31 points per game even though most of the Hawks’ games have been blowouts in which her minutes were limited. On Tuesday, she never left the floor until she fouled out with 2:36 remaining.
The game actually started off well for Surry (15-6). It took Forsyth nearly four minutes to get on the board, by which time Kayleigh Cooper and Trinity Thompson had scored, sandwiched around a free throw by Jill Boyd. Then Bevis started finding the range, hitting a 14-footer and then taking it coast to coast after a rebound. She gave her team the lead for the first time at 10-9 on a driving jumper in the lane, but Krissa Hill caught the Hawks’ defense napping and raced the other way for an easy score of her own. Boyd drained a 3-pointer and Hill made two free throws, which trumped another coast-to-coast trip by Bevis and left Surry up 16-13 after one quarter of play.
The game was essentially decided in the second quarter, when the Lady Patriots were unable to get any shots to fall for most of the period. Forsyth opened the quarter on an 8-0 run, getting two baskets from Abigail Grimes, one from Esther Helm and one from Bevis to surge in front 21-16. Boyd finally stopped the run with a 3-pointer from the left baseline at the 4:21 mark, and Thompson got inside for a score to tie the game again, but then Surry went cold once more. Helm scored twice and Bevis had three more buckets and an assist as Forsyth ended the first half on a 12-2 run to lead 34-23 at the break.
“We were flat in the second quarter and part of the third, and that was the difference in the game,” Coach Hill said.
At halftime, Coach Hill thought his biggest concerns were getting his offense untracked and also slowing down Bevis, who’d gone off for 22 points. The Lady Patriots actually held her to “just” 14 in the second half, but part of that was because she dished off five assists while passing up scoring opportunities for herself.
“You don’t see too many girls like that on our schedule,” the coach said. “A few of upperclassmen have seen a kid like that, but it’s nothing you can practice for.”
The teams traded scores in the early part of the third quarter, but the Lady Patriots’ offensive woes returned late in the period and Forsyth ended the third quarter on an 11-2 run and pushed their lead to as many as 22 points.
Surry played well in the fourth quarter and at one point got back within 12 points, but the Hawks were able to hold the ball late in the game and run out the clock even with Bevis out of the game.
Boyd had a strong game for the Lady Patriots, scoring 27 points, but Surry couldn’t find consistent offense anywhere else. Thompson had nine points, and Hill, who was guarded by Bevis for much of the night, tallied seven. Hill eventually fouled her out of the game, but it was too late to make a difference.
Cooper added six points and Katie Effler two.
Abigail Grimes added 17 points for Forsyth (24-1). Helm and Meriam West each scored six.
The Lady Patriots will host Noble Academy on Friday night at the Armfield Center.
Surry 63, Asheville 31
Surry moved within one win of clinching a share of the 2017-18 title last Friday night, routing Asheville Home Educators 63-31 at the Xcel Sportsplex in Hendersonville. It was their third blowout victory of the week and sixth win in a row.
At 5-0 in league play, the Lady Patriots lead the Cabarrus Stallions by two full games in the loss column, with High Point and Asheville a game further back at 2-3. Surry has already beaten all three teams and has won all five of its conference games by at least 20 points, with the closest game being a 69-49 win at High Point on Dec. 21. On Jan. 30, the Lady Patriots will host Asheville at St. Paul School in Cana for a share of the title, and can win it outright by winning at Cabarrus three nights later.
“It’s a long ride and you can always come out a bit flat at the start of the game,” he said. “We got an early eight-point lead and they cut it to three by the end of the first quarter.”
Problem was, Asheville had neither the depth nor the talent to stay with Surry for an entire contest. The Lady Patriots outscored them 18-11 in the second quarter to lead by 10 at the break, and were up 14 going to the fourth quarter.
In the final eight minutes, Surry outscored their hosts 21-3 and blew the game wide open.
“We kept pushing the tempo on them all game,” Coach Hill said. “I wasn’t really pleased with our defense, because there were too many times when our help didn’t come over soon enough, but we eventually put it all together.
“This team has been a pleasant surprise,” said head coach Todd Hill. “I’m impressed at how we have come together so quickly.”
Krissa Hill nearly had her second straight triple-double, leading the team with 19 points, nine rebounds, nine steals and six assists. Jill Boyd was top scorer with 19 points to go with seven rebounds. Trinity Thompson had 11 rebounds to go with her six points, while Kayleigh Cooper added seven points, Faith McClary four, Karlie Effler four and Millie Cox two points to go with four assists.
Surry 62, Guilford 31
Surry 72, Guilford 33
The team’s Tuesday night saw Surry complete what might have been the longest game in the program’s history, or the shortest, depending on your perspective. On Dec. 12, Surry had hosted Guilford and was winning the game easily when a leaky roof forced the contest to be postponed in the third quarter with the Lady Patriots ahead by 19 points.
The teams agreed to play the final 10-plus minutes when the teams met again in Greensboro last Tuesday. So Surry’s first game that evening either lasted for 35 days or for about 15 minutes, depending on your point of view. In either case, the Lady Patriots picked up where they left off and won 62-31.
If you were Guilford, it was a long night regardless of how you viewed it. The teams went back on the court for their regularly-scheduled game and Surry clobbered them even worse, 72-33.
The game itself was notable for the fact that Krissa Hill did get a triple-double in this one, with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 11 steals, plus six assists. Boyd scored 14, while Thompson had nine points and eight rebounds. Boyd had gotten into early foul trouble and McClary filled in and played well herself, with eight points and four assists. Effler added six, with Cox and Cooper all scoring one basket. Cox also grabbed nine rebounds in limited action.
“We put the second game away pretty quickly,” Coach Hill said. “We came out and pressed effectively, and Faith came in and played very well when Jill picked up some early fouls. Our defense was strong in this game.”
When the first game was finally completed after a month, Boyd (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Hill (14 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists) each had a double-double. Cooper added nine points, Thompson and Karlie Effler seven each, and Katie Effler two. Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds and Cox had three assists.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.