First Posted: 1/2/2009
PILOT MOUNTAIN Anyone who might think high school basketball is not a contact sport should have seen Friday nights East Surry versus East Wilkes girls match up.
A rivalry which has gained momentum in recent years, the battle of the Lady Cardinals on this occasion was as hard fought a game as any fan could hope to see.
East Surry held to a 20-point lead for much of the game, but the intensity shown by both squads throughout was more like a tournament match up than an early January meeting.
East Surry jumped out to a quick 18-6 first quarter lead, with East Wilkes unable to score until Lauren Royals three pointer with 3:15 remaining in the quarter.
East Wilkes had trouble with East Surrys defensive pressure in the first half, with turnovers and bad shot selection leading the Cardinals from Pilot Mountain to take a 30-12 half time advantage.
East Wilkes came out with much more intensity in the second half, challenging every East Surry pass and forcing East Surry to adjust.
The rough play continued to escalate until things got out of hand with 3:25 left in the third quarter when several players from both teams dove to the floor for a loose ball, causing a tangled mess.
As East Surrys Autumn Cole and East Wilkes MaKayla Sales were trying to get up to return to play, an altercation occurred, with Sales taking a seat, not to return. Cole was helped from the floor, after apparently being struck in the face during the melee.
Things would cool down a bit following the peak of the action, with East Surry holding off their opponents to take a 49-29 victory Northwest 1-A Conference victory.
East Surry head coach Robert Smith said the East Surry and East Wilkes rivalry comes from the mutual respect for each team has for each other along each squads determination to come out on top.
Smith and East Wilkes coach Billy Brown shared a sideline in Pilot Mountain for many seasons and both Smith and Brown said afterwards that no matter the outcome of the game, the respect remains.
Basically, we have a respect for each other and of course the relationship I have with Coach Brown is really unique and professional, Smith said. But even before he was there we have always had some really great games with East Wilkes. Its kind of been a rivalry thats been established over the years. Its a healthy one and a physical one and fortunately we have come out on top in recent years, but that could change at any time. We are two programs that have tremendous respect for each other and away from playing each other we pull for them and I think they pull for us. Its really tough coaching against him (Brown), it always is. He knows how hard it is for me and it is for him too.
Kelsey Long led East Surry with 15 points, followed by Autumn Cole with 12 and Paige Honeycutt with 11 points. East Wilkes was led by Anna Hayes with 8 points and Lauren Royal with 5, all in the first half.
East Surry 49,
East Wilkes 29
East Surry Kelsey Long 15, Autumn Cole 12, Honeycutt 11, Simmons 5, Shuff 4, Jones 2
East Wilkes Anna Hayes 8, Lauren Royal 5, Green 4, Elmore 4, Grit 2, Sales 2, Litschke 2, Prevette 2