Atkins girls beat Central, face NS in WPAC final tonight

By John Cate - jcate@mtairynews.com
Senior Brooke Snow had six points and 10 rebounds for Surry Central in Wednesday’s WPAC semifinals, but it wasn’t enough to lift her team into the championship game. - John Cate | News file photo

DOBSON — The Surry Central girls will have to wait until the weekend to see when, or even if, they will get to play another basketball game this season.

The Lady Eagles had hoped to push Western Piedmont Athletic Conference co-champion Atkins aside and get into tonight’s tournament championship game, but were unable to hold a four-point halftime lead in a 52-46 loss to the Lady Camels on Wednesday night.

Surry Central, at 16-10 overall and 6-6 in WPAC regular-season play, is squarely on the bubble for being selected to the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs. As a fourth-place team in the league, it will have to hope for one of the at-large bids awarded to the top teams in the MaxPreps rankings who didn’t automatically qualify. The Lady Eagles are 28th among 2A teams in the ratings, a strong position to be in, but will have to wait for consideration until all of the top-three finishers in the West are placed in the bracket.

Central has been very competitive with nearly all of the top teams it has faced this season, and Wednesday’s showdown with the Camels (19-4) was no exception. The Lady Eagles came out shooting the ball well and led by seven points at the end of the opening period, and were still up 25-21 at the break. Central was dominating the boards with its size, helping the team to overcome a shaky shooting performance (17-61, 28 percent) and too many turnovers (26 for the game). Nine different Lady Eagles had at least two rebounds, with senior Brooke Snow grabbing 10, Joley Cabe nine and Tara Blevins eight.

Atkins, a first-year member of the WPAC, caught Central in the third quarter. The game went down to the wire, but Atkins was able to make free throws and key defensive stops in the final quarter and held off the Lady Eagles for a spot in the championship game.

Hannah Beasley and Cabe led Central with nine points each. Snow, Claire Via and Taylor Coe scored six each. Via had four assists and three steals to lead the Lady Eagles in both categories.

Atkins will play North Surry for the tournament title tonight.

Central’s girls will find out their fate when playoff pairings and seeds are announced on Saturday.

North Surry 44, Forbush 36

As it turned out, the Lady Camels won’t face regular-season co-champion Forbush in the finals to settle who gets the top playoff seed. On Thursday night, North Surry beat the Falcons 44-36, and will face Atkins in tonight’s final at Surry Central.

The Lady Greyhounds (14-12) began the season as a popular pick to defend both the WPAC and West Regional titles, but an injury to highly regarded forward Elle Sutphin derailed those hopes. Still, North came into Thursday night having won six out of seven games, its streak marred only by an overtime loss to Atkins.

North’s two meetings with Forbush this season had also seen the Lady Hounds go down in overtime. Had they won all three of those overtime games, they would have won the conference anyway. Instead, they set their sights on winning the tournament, and now they’re in the championship game after being the Falcons with no OT needed.

The game turned into the kind of grinding defensive struggle that the Lady Hounds have specialized this season. Forbush (21-4), the state’s seventh-ranked 2A team, led 23-22 at halftime, but managed just a single free throw in the third quarter. North had only one basket itself, and the teams went to the final period tied at 24. In that last frame, North’s offense came alive, outscoring the Falcons 20-12.

The Lady Hounds will face Atkins tonight at 6:30. A win will vault North from the No. 3 seed out of the WPAC to No. 2, and make a home playoff game much more likely.

Senior Brooke Snow had six points and 10 rebounds for Surry Central in Wednesday’s WPAC semifinals, but it wasn’t enough to lift her team into the championship game.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_DSC_0587a.jpgSenior Brooke Snow had six points and 10 rebounds for Surry Central in Wednesday’s WPAC semifinals, but it wasn’t enough to lift her team into the championship game. John Cate | News file photo

By John Cate

jcate@mtairynews.com