Tanner Hodgin hit a three-pointer with 13 seconds left to give North Surry a 61-60 win over Starmount Friday night.
The Greyhounds were down by two when Hodgin bounced in a long ball from the left wing. Then the Rams missed two shots in the last five seconds.
North’s Marcus Sawyers got the Hounds off to a good start. He hit a three, made a couple of assists inside to Nathan Fletcher and scored a two-pointer as North built a 12-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The lead reached 10 points at 17-7 before the Rams hit a couple of shots to get closer. Then began a parade to the foul line.
For more than four minutes, the Hounds didn’t make a basket. Starmount made two field goals, but the teams combined for 17 free throw attempts.
Earlier this season, the Hounds had a lead slip away in the second quarter. In another game, a double-digit lead fell to five in the second quarter. In this game, the 10-point lead turned into a two-point deficit at the half at 32-30.
In all three of those cases, Sawyers was sitting on the bench with foul trouble.
“Marcus isn’t a very good assistant coach,” Coach Kevin King quipped. “It’s not that he has to touch the ball — it’s that he needs to be available to touch it. Everyone is more comfortable when he is on the floor.”
“I very disappointed with our defensive intensity in the second quarter,” said King. Offensively, sometimes the team struggles just to do the basics like catching the ball, pivoting and passing.
In the third quarter, forward Ryan March gave the Hounds eight points inside. He had 13 points and several rebounds in the game before fouling out with 3:03 left in the fourth.
“I told him after the game, ‘That’s the Ryan I’ve wanted to coach all season long.’ When he’s involved offensively, that is one more person to guard.” When March is a threat inside, it opens up looks for the jump-shooters.
Even with March’s big third quarter, the Hounds couldn’t take the lead. Starmount led by five points to end the period.
Hodgin picked up the slack in the fourth quarter, hitting three from outside the arc as well as a two-pointer to open the fourth quarter.
That score made it 52-49.
The Rams had a free throw and then a basket to go up 55-49.
Hodgin then hit a three to make it 55-52, and Kendal Tucker followed with a runner to cut the lead to one.
When March fouled out with three minutes left, the Rams led 58-55.
A basket by Starmount’s Gunner Cass made it 60-55 with two minutes left. However, that would be the last score for the Rams.
Hodgin hit his second three-pointer, and King called a timeout with 1:44 left and a 60-58 score.
On the next Ram possession, an offensive foul in the paint gave the ball to North.
Brady Watts missed a heavily contested pullup jumper from eight feet, but the Rams were whistled for a carry to give the ball back.
Hodgin pump-faked a three and took a dribble closer, but missed from 17 feet.
The Rams traveled with the ball, the third-straight turnover in the last two minutes.
North took the ball up the floor, and King called a timeout with 26.9 seconds left to set up a play.
King said Starmount appeared to lose its aggressiveness with a lead late. The Rams made a killing by attacking the paint, but they looked like they were playing not to lose, he said.
With their third chance in the final minute and a half, the Hounds finally took the lead on Hodgin’s last three with 13 seconds left.
Isaiah Billips found Luke Shore wide open on the right wing in the closing seconds, but Shore bobbled the catch and then rushed his three-pointer.
The shot went wide right, but bounced out to Billips, who leaped up and attempted a follow shot from about 10 feet that bounced away at the buzzer.
Hodgin finished with a team-high 18 points, followed by March with 13. Sawyers scored eight, Carter Phillips six, Mason Hawks four (4-4 from the foul line) and Watts and Tucker two each.
“We can’t give one person the ball and just get out of the way and say, ‘Go get us 25,’” said King . “We have to score by committee and share the ball.”
North Surry improved to 6-4 in King’s first season as head coach.
There have been games where the team struggled to score, but still found a way to win, he said. That tells a lot about these young men’s character, he added.
The Hounds are back in action at Mount Airy High School today, taking on the Australian travel team at 3 p.m.