DOBSON — Mandy Holt challenged her Surry Central girls basketball team at halftime to come out with more energy in the third quarter against East Surry.
The Lady Eagles fell behind 24-14 after two quarters and looked on their way to a fourth straight defeat to start the season.
Except Surry Central (1-3) received their coach’s message loud and clear, and the Lady Eagles’ dormant offense became an aggressive attack throughout the second half to spur Coach Holt and her team to their first win of the season in 51-45 victory.
“We knew we could do it, we just had to have the effort and energy,” Holt said. “I needed five people to give me effort the whole time, and I got it at the end of the game and we came through.”
Surry Central jumped out of the halftime gates with a 13-2 run to take its first lead of the night at 27-26 midway through the third quarter. A jump shot from Taylor Cochran gave the Eagles their first advantage.
Surry Central never looked back, with the Lady Eagles using their size up front and some relentless defense to rapidly erase East Surry’s 10-point halftime lead. Mallory Wilmoth had six rebounds, including five on the offensive end, and she scored six points in the second half.
Her partner up front at the end was Taylor Coe, a 6-foot-1 center who came off the bench to provide eight points and four rebounds. Coe teamed up with Wilmoth in the frontcourt to cause problems for the Lady Cardinals and build a 36-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“Mallory is a senior, and that’s what I challenged her to do. She stepped up and came away with some important rebounds,” Holt said.
Surry Central extended its lead to as much as seven in the final period, but the Lady Cards (0-2) kept clawing back and refused to go away. A baseline jumper from Maddi Pennington reduced Surry Central’s lead to 46-43 with less than two minutes remaining, but a cold-blooded three-pointer from Claire Via gave the Eagles a six-point advantage and took the life out of East Surry.
Holt acknowledged that one of the biggest factors in her team’s win was its ability to take care of the ball. Surry Central only committed 10 turnovers while forcing the Cardinals into 23.
The fourth quarter was especially impressive from Surry Central’s standpoint. With the Cardinals pressing and fighting to trim the deficit, Surry Central was calm with the basketball and didn’t commit a single turnover.
Point guard Sarah Ford the Eagles with 10 points, but she was also a big part in Surry Central’s ability to maintain posession and win the turnover battle.
On the East Surry side, three players did a bulk of the damage in the scorebook. Sydney Marion led the way with 12 points, but Karley Jessup pitched in 11 and Serena Pickens posted 10.
Surry Central will return to the floor on Tuesday at home against Alleghany, and the Lady Cards will get back in action that same day at home against South Stokes.
Cards fly in 4th quarter
The East Surry boys basketball team only had one week of practice with a full squad in the buildup to its season opener against Surry Central, but a senior-laden roster looked like a well-oiled machine on Friday.
The Cardinals (1-0) and Golden Eagles (1-3) went back-and-forth to the tune of 12 lead changes and eight ties before East Surry put the game away late in the third quarter and throughout the final period in a 69-53 win over Surry Central.
“On the road, first game of the season, you don’t always know what to expect from your team,” East Surry coach Jason Anderson said. “You got to knock the rust off in the first game of the season, but I really didn’t think we were that rusty.”
Anderson’s squad, although limited in size, can expose teams with a five-guard lineup that effectively moves the ball and beats defenders off the dribble. This strength was on full display in the fourth quarter when East Surry went on a 17-3 run to close out the game.
The Cardinals easily dealt with the Golden Eagles’ full-court pressure to produce wide-open transition layups throughout the final period.
Tyler Smith and Kim Taylor combined for 19 of the Cardinals 21 fourth-quarter points. Smith poured in a game-high 22 while Taylor accounted for 16.
“It’s tough to press five guards,” Anderson said. “The guys know each other, they know the system and they trust it. They don’t ad-lib too much and do exactly what they’re coached to do at the end of games.”
The Cardinal offense received a boost on Friday from junior guard Adam Burke, who came off the bench to score 11 points.
Burke’s ability to knock down three-pointers immediately helped stretch the Central defense. When the Cards did fall into a small lull in the second quarter and allowed the Eagles to tie the score at 24, Burke knocked down two shots from long-range to get East back on track.
Still, there were moments when the Cardinals struggled on Friday to contain the Surry Central size. It paved the way for 6-foot-2 forward Jeremy Patterson to have a field day on the offensive glass and lead his team with 10 points.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16