ELKIN - With sky-high expectations heading into the 2012-13 season, the Buckin’ Elks opened their season with a big non-conference win.
Powered by three returning seniors - senior point guard Chris Hudspeth was sidelined with a hand injury - Elkin came out of the gates on fire before holding off a tough 2A North Surry 50-48 Tuesday night in the season opener for both squads.
“It was a good win for us,” head coach Kenneth Abrams said. “We did a heck of a job on the boards. Rebounding and good defense in the second half won that ballgame. I told our kids at halftime that if we rebound the basketball and play defense, we’re going to score; and we did that.
“I told the kids in the locker room that the biggest game of the year is the first one. You take it one game at a time and they responded to it. First ballgame, but a win is a win. It’s always good to win that first one,” he added.
Seniors Sam Lane and Trey King scored 15 points apiece to lead Elkin, while fellow senior Frank Miller pitched in with a dozen on the night.
The Elks opened the game on a 7-0 burst, highlighted by a one-hand tomahawk slam by Trey King, and dominated early on both sides of the floor. Elkin forced four turnovers in the opening five minutes of the game and didn’t allow North to score until the 3:15 mark of the first quarter.
The Greyhounds battled back and cut the lead to 13-12 late in the first on back-to-back threes and took the lead on a buzzer-beating trey by Grayson Vernon to take a 27-25 advantage into the locker room at the break.
Elkin and North traded buckets in a back-and-forth third quarter as the Hounds grabbed a 38-35 advantage on a Austin Handy three-pointer late in the third.
The Elks retook the lead when Miller fed Lane on the fast-break to push Elkin ahead at 41-40. After a Vernon layup to make it 44-43, the Elks made just enough big plays to seal the victory.
King sank a long three to push Elkin ahead at 46-44 with 1:18 left to play, and the Elks never looked back.
Jamiles Hayes and King sank 3-of-4 free throws, while Kody King snagged a long pass to ice the 50-48 victory for Elkin.
Despite poor free throw shooting (13-for-26 in the game and 4-for-10 in the final minute), Abrams credited Lane, Trey King and the seniors for sealing the game.
“Sam played a great fourth quarter with four fouls; and he should, he’s a senior. He really stepped it up,” he said. “He and Trey King played a huge fourth quarter. It was a team effort.
“I have a bunch of young kids. We had three sophomores on the floor at one time, but they stepped up. I knew North Surry wouldn’t quit; I knew they were going to come back. Our kids didn’t give up; I’m just happy to win the ballgame,” Abrams added.
Elkin returns to action this weekend in a post-Thanksgiving tournament in Mt. Airy. The Elks will take on the Granite Bears Friday night before battling East Surry Saturday. Tip off from Mt. Airy High School Friday is set for 7:15 p.m. with Saturday’s contest set to begin at 3:45 p.m.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.