WALNUT COVE — If you believe MaxPreps, four of the six best 1A teams in the state all play in the Northwest 1A Conference.
Mount Airy’s boys faced one of the other four on Tuesday night, and dropped a 76-68 road game at the hands of South Stokes, currently rated No. 6 in the state. The Bears, who came in ranked fifth, fell into a second-place tie in the league standings with fourth-ranked Bishop McGuinness.
This was the third meeting of the season between the two teams. Mount Airy won a conference game over the Sauras back in December, but then lost to them in a consolation-round game of the Frank Spencer Holiday Classic later in the month. On Tuesday, the Bears led for most of the first three quarters, but managed just nine points in the fourth quarter and watched South Stokes (15-6, 4-3 NW1A) pull away for the win.
Mount Airy (13-5, 5-2) led by nine points in the first quarter before Stokes went on a 9-0 run to tie the score. This was a recurring script for the opening three periods, as the Bears would open up a cushion and seemed to have the Sauras on the ropes, only to watch South Stokes make a mini-run and get close.
After the Sauras had rallied to tie the score two different times but never take the lead, Mount Airy built its lead back to 41-33 late in the second quarter, but Stokes went on a 15-5 run that bridged halftime and took a 48-46 lead. This was the only lead that the home team ever had until the final quarter. The Bears led 59-56 going to the fourth quarter.
A 7-0 run to open the final period put the Sauras up four. The Bears surged ahead one more time at 64-63, but the rest of the night belonged to Stokes.
Donavon Greene led the Bears with 29 points. Greg Greene added 20.
Mount Airy is scheduled to host the state’s top-ranked 1A team, Winston-Salem Prep, on Friday night.
Mount Airy 69, South Stokes 32
The Lady Bears have been second to none in the 1A ranks since last season, and things went from bad to worse for the hosts as the first half moved along Tuesday night.
Mount Airy (17-2, 7-0 NW1A) outscored Stokes 21-10 in the first quarter and then turned up the heat in the second quarter, scoring at nearly a 100-point pace en route to a 45-19 halftime lead. The Lady Bears extended their lead to 40 by the end of the third quarter and then played the rest of the game with a running clock.
Asherah Smith led the team with 23 points, and Shaunae Sawyers added 18.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.