PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Surry Runnin’ Patriots varsity boys basketball team clinched a victory by nine points on Tuesday and edged by the Greensboro Panthers on home turf in the Armfield Civic Center.
The score was Surry Runnin’ Patriots 49-40.
Assistant coach Paul Bunke said Senior Runnin’ Patriot Chad Brantley led a balanced scoring attack against the Panthers and scored 15 points. He said Brantley provided key leadership for the Pats when fellow senior Nate Gerber fouled out with 3:30 remaining in the contest.
The coach said Brantley was joined in double figures by junior guard P.J. Bunke, who contributed 12 points, all from behind the three-point arc.
“Tonight was a game of pure hustle,” said Patriots Head Coach Todd Gerber. “We hit the floor with an intensity that Greensboro had no answer for. I was extremely proud of them. The team kept it up on both ends, they were patient on offense and ran the floor well. It can be hard to get all those things to come together in one night, but tonight it did.”
The Patriots opened up a nine-point half-time lead, and never looked back, said assistant coach Bunke.
He said the Patriots lead swelled to 15 late in the third quarter until Greensboro banked in a last-second three-pointer to cut it to 12 at the end of the third. Then, midway through the final period, the Panthers were able to close to within six points before the last of P.J. Bunke’s three-pointers put the game out of reach.
Assistant coach Bunke said clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch sealed the win for the Patriots, who hit five of seven from the line in the final quarter. Nate Gerber, the team’s leading scorer of the season, had a great all-around contribution with 14 rebounds and nine assists, Bunke said.
The assistant coach said key contributions also were made by sophomore point guard Andrew Thoppil, who played aggressive defense and relentlessly pursued the Panthers’ perimeter players.
In addition, Bunke said Thoppil dished out four assists, while junior Nathaniel Goodman played tough in the post and collected 10 rebounds.
McKinnley Walsh contributed to the win by coming off the bench in relief of Nate Gerber, and Walsh made several “hustle plays” on defense and hit a key free throw in the final minute, Bunke said.
The Patriots recently came off a road win in Greensboro over the Knights of Noble Academy on Jan. 7. In that contest, the Patriots got 18 points each from Nate Gerber and Nathaniel Goodman, and cruised to a 66-45 victory over the Knights.