First Posted: 2/23/2009
The old saying goes if a team lives by the 3, it may die by the 3.
Thanks to the 3-point shot, Mount Airy is alive and kicking and advancing to the second round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs after dismantling Gray Stone Academy, 77-52, Monday night behind a third quarter 3-point clinic.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Gray Stone led 23-21. The Granite Bears (23-4) then went on a 19-3 run to end the half. And then things got even worse for Gray Stone.
Robbie Rives hit a 3 to start the second half and again on the Bears next possession. On the next possession, Wade Moody hit yet another 3 from the left wing, the same as Rives previous shots.
The first half we shot 10 percent, I think, from 3, Mount Airy coach Kevin Spainhour said. I think a lot of it has to do with its such a different kind of a night. Its one game and its first round. You kind of know on our end were expected to win and we werent really focused; we werent really concentrating. To our guys credit, we ended the half really strong and then Robbie Rives, like hes done all year long, knocks down a 3 to start the second half. He hit three 3s in the third quarter by himself. When we shoot the ball with confidence we can be really dangerous.
In addition to putting points in the book, the 3-pointer helps Mount Airy in other ways. Gray Stone was forced to put up bad shots when it fell behind. Offensively, the floor opened up for the Granite Bears.
The other thing about the 3 for us is teams all year long have sagged off of us to keep our guards from penetrating, Spainhour said. When were hitting 3s it allows us to penetrate and opens up a lot of things for us.
Rives finished with 15 points, behind a game-high 19 scored by Wade Moody.
Coming off a huge win over Bishop McGuinness to claim the Northwest 1-A last week, Mount Airy found it rough getting up for last nights game, played in front of a sparse crowd.
The difficult thing is to come off the high that we had, Spainhour said. You couldnt hear yourself think in our gym Thursday night against Bishop McGuinness. To come off that high into a gym where you can hear every bounce of the ball, that plays into it. Thats the first round of a state playoff game and weve had them every year and thats the way they are.
One of the benefits of a blowout win is subbing, which keeps players fresh and gives others a chance to get in. In preparation of Wednesdays second-round game against either Jordan Matthews or North Moore Spainhour had forward E.J. Valentine defend a guard, which Valentine will be doing Wednesday. Jordan Matthews is one of the top-ranked teams in the state and heavily favored to win.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.
Mount Airy 77,
Gray Stone 52
Gray Stone 13 13 8 18 52
Mount Airy 17 23 23 14 77
Gray Stone Brad Harrington 4, Jeff Harrington 6, DeAngelo Smalls 2, John-Michael McCormick 8, Matt Slingerland 8, Clint Lowder 4, Ethan Cardts 6, Hunter Seabolt 14