JONESVILLE — Surry Central clamped down on Starmount in crunch time for a 56-42 win on the road.
The Rams held a first-quarter lead, but the Golden Eagles edged ahead by two at halftime.
The lead was just three points going into the fourth quarter, but Central allowed just four points in the final eight minutes.
Starmount outscored Central 16-15 in the first quarter, but could only manage 16 for the entire second half.
“We’ll take that,” said Coach Ken Eiswald.
He joked that the team must have eaten too much Thanksgiving turkey because the players came out flat and sluggish.
Starmount has some players who can penetrate well, and the defense was having trouble keeping the Rams away from the paint. Rotating over to stop the dribbler also made it hard for guys to match up with a man to box out.
“Zach (Wilmoth) did a great job in the first half of keeping us even with them because it wasn’t our defense,” the coach said.
Wilmoth hit two three-pointers in the first half, then he banged away inside for some second-half shots on his way to a team-high 18 points.
The Eagles had four other players with six or more points. Eiswald kept fresh bodies on the floor as eight guys played 12 minutes or more, despite being short one starter.
Captain Simeon Bracken suited up, but the coach didn’t like the way the senior looked in warmups as he recovers from an ankle injury.
Without the 6-foot-4 Bracken, the Eagles needed a team effort to win the rebounding battle 28-24; four players grabbed five to six boards each.
“Rebounding is one of the areas where we did a whole lot better in the second half,” said Eiswald.
The team also played better on-the-ball defense. Rather than pressure the wings, the coach had the team pull back slightly to close off driving lanes.
This was the first time this season that players have held up a hand to signal they were tired, he noted. That’s because they were working so hard on defense that they needed a breather.
By rotating people in and out, the Eagles seemed like the fresher team in the fourth quarter, he said.
With the Rams tiring, that opened up driving lanes for Luke Haymore and Colby Chilton.
It’s like a good running game in football, he said. When the defense is tired, the running backs can find holes.
Kenyon Martin and Samuel Harris showed growth in this game, Eiswald believed. They are two guys who played a lot on JV last year, but have been finding their way with the varsity team.
Kenyon only took two shots and scored two points, but he grabbed five rebounds, handed out two assists and made a steal.
Harris was 2-3 from the field and 2-2 from the foul line for six points to go with two boards, one steal and a charge taken.
Zach Wilmoth had five boards, two steals and committed just one turnover while shooting 5-11 inside and 2-5 from long range.
Colby Chilton was 3-5 from the field and 4-4 from the line for 10 points to go with a team-high six boards, one assist and one steal.
Jake Wilmoth was 3-5 from the field for seven points and five boards. Brett Mosley had two points, two assists and a steal.