North Surry and Mount Airy put on a sold-out show on Friday.
Just a year away from only 25 fans being allowed at basketball games, hundreds upon hundreds of adoring fans filled the stands at Ron King High School before the varsity games even started. Fans stood everywhere and everywhere overlooking the court because they knew it was going to be a showdown to remember.
Both the home Greyhounds and visiting Granite Bears came into play on Friday with winning streaks. Although the game gave each team a break from conference competition, momentum — as well as all-important bragging rights — was at stake in the final week of the regular season.
Despite a home team’s 28-point quarterback, Mount Airy stymied the comeback, defeating North Surry 73-69. The Bears, who improve to 13-4 with their sixth straight win, hand the Hounds their first home loss of the season.
Mount Airy came on Friday with two unavailable seniors and another left the game with a second-quarter injury: Zeb Stroup. Stroup serves as the team’s starting center and is one of three Bears to average in double figures this season. He had two points, four rebounds, an assist and two blocks when he left the game.
The Bears relied heavily on a trio of guards: Tyler Mason, Brooks Sizemore, and Mario Revels. Revels, who never attempted more than five 3-pointers in a game this season prior to Friday, was making 5-of-7 shots from the arc en route to a career-high 19 points. As a team, Mount Airy shot 11 of 17 (65%) from deep while North Surry scored 5 of 16 (31%).
Mount Airy’s tight man-to-man defense kept North Surry scoreless for much of the game. After Jahreece Lynch, who had a team-high 19 points for North, put down a 3-pointer in the first quarter at 7:29 on the clock, the Hounds didn’t score again until 4:28 and didn’t make an A field goal until 3:42.
An 8-0 Greyhound run gave the home side a 22-18 lead in the second quarter. Revels hit a 3-pointer from a sizemore assist, but North countered with a lynch drive to the basket to go 24-21 at 4:01 at the half. Mount Airy scored the next 10 unanswered points as North went almost three minutes without a goal. Despite being seven points down, North got back into the game at half-time, with Kolby Watson scoring with a quick break and Ryan Simmons scoring two bonus free throws.
The third quarter started out looking like a shootout. Devyn Joyce opened with a 3-pointer for the Bears, then James McCreary hit one for the Hounds. Sizemore hit his third 3-pointer of the game in response. McCreary then assisted Lynch on an inbound alley oop pass that got the crowd on their feet. Jackson Smith scored shortly after to cut Mount Airy’s lead to 37-35.
Mount Airy’s next run would be decisive. From 4:23 to 1:39 of the third quarter, the Bears beat the Greyhounds 13-0: Joyce and Sizemore hit 3-points each, Caleb Reid hit twice in the paint, Mason hit two free throws, and Revels went 1-of -2 from the line.
Mount Airy led 52-41 early in the fourth quarter and maintained a double-digit lead for two minutes. Lynch made 1 of 2 free throws on a deliberate foul, and Watson separated some defenders for a 5:55 layup. The Bears called a timeout at 5:37 to play 55-46.
Revels came out of the timeout and hit two 3-pointers. The runner-up then went off the line 2-on-2 to give the Granite Bears the biggest lead of the day, playing 63-46 and 4-18.
North Surry played perhaps their best defense of the game, 17 behind. The Greyhounds forced turnover after turnover and went on a 9-1 run. Finally back in the single digits, the North Surry players claimed a 10-second breach after Smith scored in the paint. No call was made, so Mason crossed the timeline and converted an old-fashioned three-point play.
The Hounds continued to fight back. Simmons hit and was fouled, then McCreary hit a 3-pointer with 1:45 left to make it 68-60. Sizemore hit two bonus free throws for the Bears, then Simmons did the same for the Greyhounds.
McCreary tipped over the rebound of a Watson shot to make it a six-point game. Simmons intercepted a pass from Mount Airy and passed to Lynch, who was fouled on a shot with 37 seconds left. Lynch was injured in the game and had to leave the field, so freshman Kam McKnight came in and hit both free throws.
Jared Pinto got a layup on a Revels pass for Mount Airy, but McCreary grabbed his 10th rebound of the game and found Woodbury open for a 3-pointer. A timeout was made with 10.6 seconds to play and Mount Airy called up 72-69.
Revels landed at Joyce, and Mason circled to cross the halfcourt before being fouled. Mason put the game away by hitting his first free throw before missing the second. Watson tried to pull a foul by shooting a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it wasn’t to be.
Sizemore led all scorers with 22 points, and the senior also had five rebounds and a team-high five assists. Reid came close to a double-double with six points and 10 rebounds, while Mason had four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
McCreary’s double-double led the team in both points (19) and rebounds (10). The junior also had four assists, three steals and two blocks. Lynch came close to a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds.
With one week left in the regular season, MaxPreps ranks Mount Airy 3rd in the 1A and North Surry ranked 5th in the 2A West.
North Surry lead the Foothills 2A Conference with a 9-0 record. Forbush is second at 7-3 and East Surry is third at 6-3. North Surry need to win just one of their three games next week to secure the FH2A Championship.
Mount Airy is playing what might be his best basketball of the season. The Bears beat the other two top seeds in the Northwest 1A Conference last week, but preseason losses to North and South Stokes pushed the Bears into third place with a week to go. Mount Airy and North Stokes are 7-2 in the conference while South Stokes is 9-1.
Mount Airy can win the conference outright by winning and counting on North and South Stokes to lose several games each. If the Bears win and North and South Stokes don’t lose until they play each other on February 11, a North Stokes win would create a three-way tie for first.
MAHS – 16, 15, 21, 21 = 73
NSHS – 14, 14, 13, 28 = 69
MA – Brooks Sizemore 22, Mario Revels 19, Tyler Mason 16, Devyn Joyce 6, Caleb Reid 6, Zeb Stroup 2, Jared Pinto 2
NS – James McCreary 19, Jahreece Lynch 16, Kolby Watson 13, Makiyon Woodbury 7, Jackson Smith 6, Ryan Simmons 6, Kam McKnight 2