ELKIN - The Buckin’ Elks’ hopes of a shot at the state title came to an abrupt, and disappointing, end in the first round of the 1A state playoffs Monday night.
Mountain Valley Conference Champion Elkin was stunned by Northwest Conference rival East Surry 70-50 in the opening-round matchup at home, ending any chances of a title run.
“They got off to a red-hot start and we weren’t ready for that type of shooting,” head coach Kenneth Abrams said. “That’s a good ballteam. They out-rebounded us, they out-hustled us and they shot the ball better than we did. We were lacking some effort tonight and it cost us.
“You’re the number one seed 1A seed coming out of the conference and then you lose in the first round of the tournament, it is disappointing. We didn’t show up, it’s very disappointing,” he continued. “It’s going to take a while to get over this one. But we came out flat and that’s what happens. I wish we would have played better.”
East Surry shot lights-out in the first quarter, building a commanding 17-2 lead in the opening five minutes of the game. The Cardinals led 21-9 at the end of one and never looked back.
Elkin cut the lead down to 10 at 26-16 early in the second on a Sam Lane drive, but the Cards answered with one of their five treys of the first half.
East pushed the lead out to as much as 18 in the first half and took a comfortable 40-25 edge into the locker room.
The Cardinals opened the third on a quick 7-0 burst to extend their advantage out to 22 at 47-25.
Elkin showed a little life in the final 2:18 of the frame on back-to-back drives by Chris Hudspeth and a three by Calvin Yarboro to cut the deficit to 54-38. But East iced the game with another 7-0 charge to open the final quarter, pushing its advantage back out to 22 at 60-38.
From there, the Cardinals put the finishing touches on the shocking 70-50 upset victory.
“We were just off tonight,” Abrams explained. “We got good looks, but just didn’t hit them. Then we started rushing shots in the second half.
“The boards have been haunting us for the past few weeks. And when you don’t rebound or play good defense, you’re going to get your butt beat…and that’s what happened tonight,” he added.
Lane paced the Elks in his final game in an Elkin uniform with 13 points, while fellow senior Hudspeth added a dozen. Jamiles Hayes tacked on seven with Frank Miller adding on five in his last high school game.
Senior Sangam Shah knocked down three free throws in the final minute of the game in one of the few bright spots of the game.
The Elks finish the season with a 20-7 mark overall and captured the regular-season conference title. Despite the early-round loss, Abrams has “no regrets.”
“We had a good year. I’m happy for my seniors and I’m proud of the kids,” Abrams said. “I have no regrets on the season. I just wish it ended better.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.