KERNERSVILLE — The reigning 1A state champions looked like they are ready to defend their title.
Winston-Salem Prep sprinted past Mount Airy 103-65 Wednesday in the semifinal of the Northwest Conference Tournament.
The Phoenix will play the winner of East Surry/Bishop McGuinness in Friday’s final. The Cardinals and Villains will play tonight here on Bishop’s home floor.
The Bears’ offense produced double figure scoring in each quarter, but Prep scored 20 or more points in each frame.
Prep big man Coye Simmons was out, so the Phoenix played smaller and quicker. The top seed created open shots throughout the night, which frustrated Bear coach Levi Goins.
“We gave them open looks all night,” he said. “When we played them at their place last week, they didn’t get that many looks, and they didn’t shoot as well.”
Sharpshooter Aaron Lipscomb, one of the top 3-point marksmen in the state, hit five bombs on his way to 31 points. Teammate Mike Hughes added 18 points.
The Bears have played Prep several times in the past two years, and the players know what Hughes and Lipscomb are capable of, but they still didn’t get to them quick enough to challenge shots, the coach said.
Yes, Mount Airy played on Tuesday while Prep had a bye, but Goins felt like the mistakes were as much mental as fatigue.
Prep hit some shots early and took a 20-10 lead after the first quarter.
Then Lipscomb scored 18 points in the second period as Prep pushed the lead to 50-24.
“He was unconscious in the second quarter,” Goins said of Lipscomb.
The lead reached 33 points by the end of the third period at 72-39.
Caleb Horton led Mount Airy with 23 points.
Carson Mounce and Khaileel Dailey scored 15 each. Mounce also had a team-high nine rebounds and four blocks.
Isaiah King scored seven, Dylan Gallimore, Isiah Simmons and Clay Mounce scored two each, and Sihem Smith one.
Goins said he is certain the Bears will get a wild card bid into the 1A state playoffs, and he said he thinks they will be one of the tougher wild cards in the brackets. However, he will have to wait until Saturday to hear where the state will send his team to play.