Scott Meredith broke a 44-all tie with just two seconds left to lift East Surry over Mount Airy Friday night.
Mount Airy’s Isiah Simmons checked Meredith closely, but the senior guard still made the shot.
The Bears had a chance to win, but a half-court heave from Clay Mounce bounced off the back of the rim.
The two teams played to overtime the last time they met and nearly did so again.
For a while in the first half, overtime seemed unlikely as East Surry built a double-digit lead.
Halfway through the first quarter, the Cardinals led 7-6 and Meredith hadn’t even attempted a shot yet.
Then the Cards got a putback from Carson Long and three straight scores from Meredith to lead 18-6 going into the second quarter.
A bucket by Garrett Vass to open the second period gave the Cards their biggest lead at 20-6.
Dylan Gallimore hit a couple of threes to break the dry spell, but the Cards still led 30-18 at the break.
Long had six blocked shots in the game, including back-to-back blocks in the second quarter to keep the Bears from getting any closer.
After scoring just 18 points in the first half, the Bears nearly doubled that in the third by getting 17.
“Everything came from our pressure defense,” said Bear Coach Levi Goins. Dylan Gallimore and Carson Mounce were out of the game, and the Bears had a small lineup on the floor that found success pressuring the ball.
Mount Airy cut the lead to five points at 40-35 going into the final quarter.
Cardinal Coach Jason Anderson thought his team had great intensity at the start. Then in the third quarter, Mount Airy did a great job of stepping up their defense, while his own guys seemed to become content and didn’t respond to the challenge.
The Cards were very patient on offense in the fourth quarter, noted Goins. They were fine with passing and cutting for two minutes before ever taking a shot, he said. Then his own team had to rush to get the ball up the floor and score.
The Bears outscored the visitors 9-4 to tie the game at 44-44 in the last minute.
Scott Meredith has continued to improve over his career, and he carries a lot of confidence, said Goins. Even though Isiah was all over him, Scott rose up and hit it.
“We need to shoot better from the foul line; as a team we didn’t have a good night, but we survived,” Anderson said. A win on the road in this conference is something any coach will be glad to take.
Meredith led all scorers with 20 points to go with three assists and four rebounds.
Long scored seven of his 14 points in the first quarter.
Seth Brim scored five, Vass, Bryanh Banks, Tyler Smith and Cody Ashburn two each and Jacob Bowman one.
For Mount Airy, Clay Mounce had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brother Carson had six points off the bench as Goins tried putting Sihem Smith in the starting lineup to guard Brim.
Caleb Horton had 11 points, Gallimore nine, Simmons five and Khaileel Dailey four.
Mount Airy travels to Walkertown on Tuesday, while East Surry hosts North Stokes.