PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry lost by 18 to Wilkes Central in the boys’ game of the Christmas basketball tournament.
With all-conference guard Scott Meredith watching in street clothes, the Cardinals let the game slip out of reach in the third quarter to fall 52-34.
Meredith dislocated his pinkie finger on his shooting hand against Winston-Salem Prep and will miss tonight’s game with North Wilkes as well.
Regardless of the injury, other players have to step up and take charge, said Coach Jason Anderson. He said he didn’t have any stats yet on how many turnovers his team had, but there were far too many.
The Eagles led just 8-7, but finished the first quarter on a 7-2 run to lead 15-9. The run reached 11-2 as the Eagles built a 10-point lead. Wilkes Central led at the half 27-15.
The Eagles opened the third with another run, this time 14-5 to take a dominating 41-20 lead. The lead would reach 23 points, and the Cards got no closer than 18.
Small forward Eli Gilbert had a big second half. He blocked at least three shots and swished two three-pointers, but Wilkes guard Will Cornette countered with several midrange jumpers for 12 points. Wide-body Michael Howell added 10 points in the paint for the Eagles.
Tyler Pardue led the Cards with eight and Carson Long seven. Drew Alley and Gilbert had six each. Austin Johnson had four, Seth Brim two and Devin Benton one.
On the first possession of the game, the guards had the ball on the outside and didn’t see a cutter come open going to the basket, noted the coach. Then on the second possession, the defense wasn’t guarding Pardue in the post, and the guards missed that, too.
Anderson said it wasn’t just the people on the outside who weren’t making the right plays. There were times when the post players had a choice of whether to curl to the basket or pop outside and made the wrong read, he noted.
The offense was just out of synch, and the team was off at the foul line, he said.
The Cards were just 2-6 in the first half and 5-11 (45 percent) in the game.
The team has been up and down at the stripe this season, he said.
“It’s become a mental thing,” he said. “It’s not like we don’t practice it.”
East Surry doesn’t have long to shake off the loss as the boys and girls are back in action tonight against East Wilkes. Tip-off times are 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.