WALNUT COVE — Surry Central fell to 1-1 in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference after suffering their first conference loss to South Stokes on Thursday night, 67-59.
A strong second quarter for the Sauras proved the difference in a game where there was only a one-point difference in scoring in every other period.
After the first eight minutes, one, Surry Central was only down by one.
South Stokes (10-4, 2-0 WPAC) took a one-point lead after the first quarter. After the Sauras scored first, Dante’ Hanner evened the score with his own rebound for a put back. Midway through the quarter, Ethan Danley stole the ball and laid in his first score. During the last two minutes of the first, Brandon Norman and Dreven Harrison netted one each, while Chandler Johnson grabbed one and took a free throw. However, the Sauras had countered everything and led 12-11.
Mason Wood came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer to give the Eagles the early lead in the second, but even that and eight points from Hanner in the period weren’t enough, as South Stokes outscored Surry Central 21-14 in the second quarter and carried a 33-25 lead into halftime.
The second half was played on even terms, with Surry Central (6-7, 1-1 WPAC) outscoring the Sauras by one in the third and then South Stokes returning the favor in the fourth quarter. The difference was all in that strong stretch that the hosts enjoyed before the half.
A minute and a half after the halftime break, Norman hit his second basket of the night. Approximately two minutes were left on the clock when Hanner was fouled in the paint, making the basket for a three-point play. He repeated this feat with 52 seconds remaining in the third. The Eagles made all eight of their free-throw chances in the quarter, four of them by Hanner, and were down by seven with a quarter to go, 48-41.
Unfortunately, it took two and a half minutes before Central scored in the last quarter, and that was just a single free throw from Harrison. However, the Eagles did get going and tried to make a comeback. Hanner hit a layup. Norman splashed his first of two fourth quarter 3-pointers with three minutes remaining. Norman’s contribution helped pull his team back within seven of the Sauras, and for the fourth time, Hanner was fouled making a basket, with another shot netted and another obligatory free throw collected.
During the last minute of regulation time, Norman hit his second three, which then pulled the Eagles within five points. Norman’s 10 points in the fourth, Hanner’s five and Harrison’s sole foul shot just wasn’t enough to inch past South Stokes, and as time expired, South Stokes handed Surry Cetnral its first conference loss.
Norman was the only other Surry Central player to reach double figures, with 14 points. Harrison, Austin Hazelwood and Wood all had five.
Surry Central will travel to Sparta on Wednesday night to face Alleghany High School in a non-conference contest.