The Granite Bears beat the Falcons 71-50 in the final game of Saturday’s four contests in the East Surry Thanksgiving Invitational Tournament.
Khaileel Dailey sat on the Mount Airy bench — but not patiently — as his Bear teammates held on to a narrow 12-10 lead over Forbush after he went to the bench with early foul trouble.
The perfect example of the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy, Dailey waited for his chance to return to the game and provide his team with a spark.
When he got back on the floor, Dailey sparked the Bears to a big run to turn a close game into a 15-point margin at halftime.
Dailey threw down a dunk on the fast break, then turned around and slammed home another two points while being fouled just seconds later. After a Forbush miss, Dailey would attack the baseline and convert a layup for six quick points.
Along with two free throws from Isaiah King, the eight straight points gave the Bears a double-digit lead, and the margin wouldn’t fall back to single digits the rest of the way.
Dailey finished with 22 points on 9-14 shooting from the floor.
“Khaileel doesn’t like sitting on the bench,” said Coach Levi Goins, who pulled the junior after a defensive foul and a charge.
“He has great heart, great team leader,” said Goins. “He’s always the guy saying the right things on the floor, and that’s more important that his 22 points. His head is in the right place.”
While the two dunks excited the fans and teammates, on the scoreboard they still only count for two points, the coach said. To build a lead, it takes being solid on defense, and this team needs to be smarter and more solid.
Dailey provided four steals and Clay Mounce three to lead the defense.
With the football players joining the squad this week, the Bears finally have depth, and it looks like quality depth at that.
Wide receiver Caleb Horton, a returning starter, was back at the shooting guard position, and five other gridiron players came off the bench: Isiah Simmons, Cordell France, Isaiah King, Cooper Orange and Sihem Smith.
Isiah Simmons might be rusty at basketball, but it didn’t show on defense as he harassed the Forbush guards.
Isiah did very well considering he has only been practicing with the team for a few days, Goins said. He was solid on defense and only committed one turnover while scoring 12 points, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first quarter.
Isaiah King brings so much energy to the team, both when he’s in the game and when he’s cheering from the bench, according to the coach.
“He understands that it is a game, but the harder you go, the more fun you have,” said the coach. “I am very glad to have him on the team this year.”
As a coach, it is great to turn to the bench and not lose much when the starters come out, he said. In fact, the second five might even be a little better defensively with Simmons and France on the perimeter.
When the starters are on the floor, defenses are going to have trouble containing a potent offense.
Dailey, Horton and Clay Mounce can attack off the dribble. Both Clay and brother Carson Mounce have the size to rise up and shoot over smaller defenders near the hoop.
And point guard Dylan Gallimore shows signs of being a true floor general.
“Dylan has a good understanding of the game,” said Goins. He made a couple of inexperienced mistakes against Forbush, but he also showed off a good handle and got the team rolling.
“As he continues to come into his own, he will be a handful for other teams,” he said.
After Dailey’s 22, Carson Mounce was the next highest in points with 14 to go with six rebounds. Clay Mounce had six points and six boards.
Horton scored seven, King four, Gallimore and Smith two each and France one.
The Bears will play in the second of four games today at East Surry.
They face Elkin after the end of the girls’ game at about 3:30 p.m.