DOBSON — The Golden Eagles trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but came up inches short of tying the game with a buzzer-beater.
Surry Central held a six-point lead in the third quarter, but a cold spell let the Sauras take the lead and threaten to pull away.
Some late heroics from long range let the Eagles cut into the lead, but Rocky Collins’ 25-footer hit the rim and bounced away for a 60-57 loss.
The Eagles, playing their first home game in a month, started two freshmen this game with Dante Hanner and Jeremy Patterson in the frontcourt with senior Zach Wilmoth.
Jeremy has been playing well of late, said assistant coach Jeff Edmonds, and his good size allows Zach to slide over to a small forward spot at times.
The Sauras led 15-11 with a three-point play by J.J. Davis with 1:39 left in the first quarter.
Then the Eagles clamped down on defense and didn’t allow a single point for nearly four minutes.
Central went on a 13-0 run to take a 24-15 lead before Devin Feimster made a three-point play.
A 3-pointer by Cole Stewart gave the Eagles a 30-22 lead late in the quarter, but South Stokes answered with a three while the officials decided to call Stewart’s shot a two-pointer instead.
Another Saura three at the buzzer cut the margin to 32-28 at the break.
South Stokes guard J.J. Davis scored eight points in the first quarter, but he took a hard fall when colliding in midair with Wilmoth while trying to stop the big man from dunking.
Davis came back in the second half and fueled the Sauras’ run.
J.J. penetrated the defense on several occasions, which opened up chances for his teammates. He only scored five points himself in the second half, but the Sauras were clicking offensively.
In the fourth quarter, the lead reached 10 points.
Then Kirk Needham and Collins put up threes to cut into the margin.
Needham hit another long shot to make it a two-point game.
After South Stokes hit 1 of 2 foul shots with seven seconds left, the Eagles had one more chance but missed.
Patterson gave the Eagles a good lift with five points in the first half. However, he was in foul trouble and sat most of the second half and didn’t score.
Wilmoth scored 23 points with eight rebounds and moved from fifth place to fourth place on the career scoring list. He is only seven points away from Matt Richardson for third place, but a very long way from former teammate Ethan Wilmoth.
Zach Wilmoth and his parents were honored before the start of the boys’ game. Zach scored his 1,000th career point during the Eagles’ long road stretch.
Central next travels to North Surry on Friday.