First Posted: 12/4/2009
PILOT MOUNTAIN A crowd of scouts from local and national schools gathered to watch Bishop McGuinness girls basketball team play at East Surry Friday night. What they saw was the Cardinals come within a point of becoming the first team in Northwest Conference history to beat the Villains.
Kelsey Long scored a game-high 16 points, as East Surry (2-2, 1-2) lost a 37-36 decision to Bishop (2-0, 2-0), holding the Villains to a scoreless fourth quarter in the process. Long, who was the only player to score in all four quarters, drilled a pair of clutch 3-pointers to help the home team rebound from a miserable third quarter and give the Villains a scare.
Long hit a corner 3 with three minutes remaining to bring her team within four. She made another 3 from the corner with 53.8 seconds left that brought the score to 37-36, but that was as close East Surry would get.
We knew coming in how good Kelsey Long is, Bishop coach Brian Robinson said. Give credit to Kelsey Long.
Since joining the conference in 2005, the Villains have not lost a game. Several 20-win East Surry teams have fallen victim to the Villains in that time. In fact, the closest any other team has come to beating Bishop was Easts 2007 squad that lost by four points.
Four years theyve pretty much been unstoppable, Long said. This year we felt we could beat them and you saw how close we got.
I just wanted to beat them so bad. You have no idea.
With the Villains missing the height and experience from a season ago, Long and her senior-laden team feel like this is the year to finally dethrone the Villains from atop the conference standings.
Hopefully at their place we can beat them or maybe in the conference championship we can get them again, she said.
Robinson said he has seven new faces dotting the roster of his young squad. Bishop won the NCHSAA 1A title with ease last season.
Teams in the past made it look easy, but you cant play like we did tonight and expect to get it done, he said.
Bishop held a 26-16 lead at the half and raced to a 37-21 lead after three quarters. The Villains opened the third with a 7-0 run and held the Cardinals to five points.
East Surry coach Keith Gunter went with a tight man-to-man defense in the fourth and told his players to fight every possession.
They did and thats all I can ask them to do, he said. I cant ask them to make every shot or never make a mistake. They played their hearts out.
Long said the experienced members of the team helped get it in the right mindset to play through the deficit.
I think it was the senior leadership, she said. Theres five of us who have never beaten them. We wanted to beat them, we could beat them. We dug down deep and gave them all we had.
Scouts from Marquette, Western Carolina, East Carolina and Liberty made the trek to Pilot Mountain to check out a few Bishop players. If Long had not committed to Belmont Abbey before the season, they may have been forced to give her a look. After all, she won the battle of star point guards between herself and Megan Buckland of Bishop. Buckland finished with five points and was in foul trouble early and often something Long and teammate Autumn Cole had a hand in.
Long and Cole play for the Winston-Salem Stealers AAU team with Bishops Buckland and Erin Fitzgerald, who led her team with nine points. Playing alongside Buckland, Long has picked up on some of her tendencies and used them against her.
I knew Megan was going to drive off screens and Autumn got several charges off that, Long said. We know shes going to drive, we know shes going to spot up and shoot.
As tense and hard fought as the game was, both sides forgot about it immediately after. Players from East Surry and Bishop mingled amongst each other and sat together to watch the boys game afterwards.
After the game were close friends, Long said. Were having a sleepover next weekend. Its fun to have that kind of relationship.
BM 13-13-11-0 37
ES 11-5-5-13 36
Boys fall in OT
The Cardinals boys also played in a tight game and, like the girls, ended up on the losing side.
Bishop went on a 5-0 run to begin the overtime period and won, 55-53. Andrew Hunter of East Surry tied the score at 53-all with 1:06 left, but Bishops Aaron Toomey sank a pair of free throws with 13.3 remaining to ice the win.
The game went back and forth late, but East Surry coach Jason Anderson said it was his teams play early in the game that made the difference.
The difference was the first quarter when we came out and turned the ball over, he said. We havent started a game well at all this year.
Bishop led 17-4 after the first quarter. But the Cardinals outscored the visitors in the next three frames to force the overtime period.
Our kids did a great job to battle back at the end of the game, Anderson said. But we have got to stop playing from behind.
Easts Ryan Johnson scored 12 points. His layup with less than 10 seconds left in regulation tied the game. Hunter Diamont, who fired a sweet wrap-around pass to Johnson on the play, finished with nine points. Andrew Hunter had a team-high 13 for East.
Toomey had a game-high 25 points and went 12-for-13 from the free-throw line, including nailing all 11 attempts from the charity stripe after halftime. East was 12-of-24 from the free-throw line.
BM 17-8-8-12-10 55
ES 4-12-11-18-8 53