DANBURY — The Lady Cardinals hit some key free throws down the stretch to hold off North Stokes 53-45 Tuesday.
East Surry jumped out to a 9-0 lead, then went cold for several minutes, according to Coach Keith Gunter. The Cards led 9-5 going into the second and held a 22-19 lead at the break.
The Lady Vikings were determined to shut down center Keri Fulp in the first half, playing a zone with two players surrounding the senior. When the Cards tried to force the ball inside, the Vikings made steals.
“Keri only had two in the first half,” said Gunter. “She had 17 in the second half.”
With the defense trying so hard to prevent Fulp from catching the ball, Gunter said there were opportunities to swing the ball around to the weakside.
Fulp caught some passes flashing over to the other side of the paint, and Gabi Jessup had some open opportunities on the ball reversals.
Jessup made two threes that forced the defense to come out to guard her, giving Fulp more room to operate down low.
It also hurt the offense to have point guard Lauren Thompson on the bench with foul trouble.
She’s the best on-the-ball defender, but she picked up a second foul early in the second quarter. Gunter decided to send in a substitute to protect her, but with the player waiting at the scorer’s table, Thompson got a third whistle and sat the rest of the half.
Thompson didn’t score, but she was a steadying influence with two assists and a deflection with just one turnover. The rest of the team committed 21 turnovers.
It was an ugly win because North Stokes played so hard, creating steals and loose balls, said Gunter. The Vikings outhustled the Cards to a few balls, which always disappoints a coach, he said.
Still, the Cards shot the lights out, hitting 65 percent on two-point tries and 4-8 from deep.
Jessup was 3-5 from long range and 5-8 overall for 13 points to go with four steals and two assists.
Fulp was 7-9 from the field and 5-6 from the line to get her 19 points.
Keri struggled from the free throw line last year, but she has really stepped it up this season, hitting 81 percent, Gunter noted.
Fulp also had 12 rebounds, five blocks and a steal.
Sydney Mosley went 3-4 for six points, seven boards, three steals and three assists.
Emma Slater led the Cards with five assists to go with five points, including 3-4 at the stripe. She also gave up her body, taking charges on defense.
Laken Bowman scored five points, Sydney Marion four and Karli Fulp one.