DOBSON — Courtney Hegler scored Surry Central’s first 10 points as the Lady Eagles routed Forbush 67-40 to open the basketball season.
Even with Eagle center Brittany Lewis on the bench with foul trouble, the Eagles took control of the glass, especially on the offensive end. Central held an 18-8 advantage of offensive rebounds.
“I was very pleased with the way Hegler played,” said Coach Mandy Holt. “That was our senior captain coming out and getting the season off on the right foot.”
All-conference guard Cassidy Joyner and honorable mention Sarah Bruce sat out the first quarter.
Their absence didn’t hurt as Hegler single-handedly outscored the Lady Falcons as the Eagles built a 12-7 lead after one.
Last season Hegler struggled from the foul line, but she nailed all four in the first quarter and seven of eight for the game. She finished with 23 points (on 50 percent shooting), 11 boards, seven steals and three assists.
As a team, the Eagles racked up a huge 17-2 advantage in steals.
All those swipe attempts, however, did lead to a lot of fouls committed. The Falcons shot 10 free throws in the first quarter and 30 for the game.
When the defense tightened down on Hegler, sophomore Kristin Key came off the bench to ignite Central.
On a backdoor cut, Key caught the ball, dribbled into the lane and passed out to a teammate. Holt yelled from the sideline that Key should shoot the ball when she was open like that.
Key listened and scored eight points in the last 10 minutes of the first half. She finished with 10 points and five rebounds in her varsity debut.
After the Falcons scored the first bucket of the second quarter, the Eagles went on a 17-6 run and led 34-20 at the break.
The third quarter was much like the second. Forbush scored first, then the Eagles tore off a 17-5 run for a 51-27 lead.
The Falcons cut the lead to 16 before Joyner scored on back-to-back drives to the basket, then hit two free throws and then assisted to Hegler for an eight-point swing.
In just three quarters, Joyner scored 14 points and added seven rebounds and four steals.
Bruce added 11 points, including eight at the start of the third quarter.
“I am very pleased with the way we opened the season,” said Holt.
“This is the most experienced team I’ve ever had,” she said, which gives the squad high hopes for the season.
However, she said she wrote on the board, “You have to start before you can finish.” Wanting to challenge for the conference title can’t happen unless the girls come out focused from game one.
“Marlee Wilmoth and Tess Dockery, their main job was to play defense against that point guard (Brittany Moose),” said Holt. “I thought they did an outstanding job on that. Brooke Lewis did a lot of things that don’t show up in the stat charts.”
She quickly added, “Don’t get me wrong, I still saw plenty we need to work on, but you have to show up every night in our conference. And we did that tonight.”