DOBSON — Surry Central’s inside scoring kept pace with East Surry’s outside shooting all night, and the Golden Eagles pulled out a 67-59 upset at home.
The Eagles came out scoring well in the first quarter, but the Cardinals’ Scott Meredith blistered the nets with four three-pointers in the first seven minutes.
Meredith’s fourth deep shot made it 16-12, but the Eagles didn’t panic throughout the game.
Central Coach Ken Eiswald said he felt like his boys were outplaying East Surry in the first half.
“But Scott was being Scott and kept them in it,” he said.
However, Eiswald said he has seen times this season when his own Zach Wilmoth started off hot, but playing long, tough minutes wears down the legs and makes it hard to hit those same shots in the fourth quarter.
So, Eiswald mixed up his defenses and his defenders to try to wear Meredith down.
Point guard Kirk Needham also made Meredith work on defense as he came out with a pair of threes and a pull-up jumper in the lane.
Central freshman Dante Hanner posted 10 points in the first half, hitting a high percentage of looks.
That allowed Central to take a 29-25 lead.
Then East’s Jack Edwards scored a basket, Meredith stole the ball and scored again while being fouled to retake the lead 30-29.
Then Meredith drove the lane, and Jake Wilmoth was called for blocking. One of the Eagles said something about the call and drew a technical.
Meredith hit all four free throws, and Carson Long followed with a basket to make it a six-point possession and a 36-29 lead.
Rather than fold, the Eagles continued to feed the ball inside and tied the game at 36-all in the closing seconds of the half.
Meredith hit a sixth three-pointer with five seconds left to give East a 39-36 lead.
The senior guard had 27 of the team’s 39 points.
At the start of the third quarter, East grew its lead to nine points, forcing a timeout by Eiswald.
The players responded with better intensity, he said. In fact, the team showed more poise and better sustained effort than any game this season.
The offense was working well tonight, and credit for that has to go to the schemes that assistant coach Jeff Edmonds has been working with the guys in practice, said Eiswald. The guys executed the schemes well and got good looks.
Dante is just a freshman, but he already has the body to hold off defenders, and he keeps getting better and better, said the coach. Hanner finished with a team-high 22 points on 11-14 shooting. He added 10 rebounds, three steals and a block.
Zach Wilmoth scored 19 points with nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Zach has had much bigger nights scoring, but Eiswald said this was the senior’s best game of the season, playing tough on both ends.
With Rocky Collins out with a hand injury, Needham stepped up his offense with 12 points after an icy game at North Surry on Friday.
Brett Mosley backed up Needham at the point and had six rebounds and four assists off the bench.
That balanced play allowed Central to cut the East Surry lead to two by the end of the third quarter. Then the Eagles outscored the Cards 20-10 in the fourth quarter.