The Granite Bears held North Surry’s top scorer without a point for the first 20 minutes in beating their cross-town rivals 56-42 Wednesday.
Grayson Vernon averages more than 20 points per game, but he didn’t score his first basket until the 3:17 mark of the third quarter.
Still, his three-point play cut an eight-point lead — at that time, the largest of the game — to five points. Then he sank a pair of free throws to make it 34-31 with 1:35 left in the period.
After that, the Bears doubled up the Hounds 22-11.
This rivalry game still means something to all these kids, said Bear Coach Levi Goins. And, since the boys hadn’t had a game in eight days, they were really fired up and ready to play.
Mount Airy’s Khaleel Dailey had the first two baskets of the game for an early 4-0 lead.
North Surry struggled to score, getting just a three-pointer from Marcus Sawyers in the first six and a half minutes.
Then backup Austin Handy came in and scored twice late in the first to keep North close at 10-7. And, he opened the second with a three-pointer to tie the game at 10-all.
The Bears had balanced scoring in the second with all five starters making a bucket.
The Hounds’ bench continued to contribute as Austin France hit a three.
Austin Taylor found Dailey for an alley-oop layup that got the home crowd excited, but France came back with another three seconds later.
Austin Taylor made a free throw for a 25-17 lead with less than a minute until halftime.
Another North reserve, Tanner Hodgin, made a three before the half for a five-point game.
These were two rough games in two days, said North Coach Travis Gammons. While Mount Airy was off on Tuesday, the Hounds went to West Stokes.
That game with West was 24-20 at halftime and was still close at the start of the fourth, Gammons said. Then the Wildcats pulled away for a 20-point win.
Then the boys turned around and played a tough, deep Bears team less than 24 hours later.
Getting those 16 points off the bench in the first half were really nice, especially with how many minutes the starters played in two games, the coach said.
In the fourth quarter, the Bears made a steal that Dailey converted into a slam dunk.
“Khaleel got the crowd rolling for sure,” said Goins. Then the Bears spent much of the quarter at the foul line, shooting 9-15 to hold off any rally attempt.
Vernon finished with eight after scoring 33 in the first matchup with the Bears.
Goins noted that 21 of those points came at the foul line, so he wanted his guys to play tight, but without fouling.
“Darius (Gwyn) did an excellent job defending him,” said Goins, with help from center Carson Mounce when Vernon tried to take the smaller Gwyn into the paint.
Handy wound up the Hounds’ leading scorer with nine points.
Taylor led the Bears with 23, including 13 straight over the end of the second quarter and the start of the third.
Dailey added 14, Isiah Simmons six, Caleb Horton five, Mounce four, and Gwyn and Benji Hicks two each. Mounce also had three blocked shots.
With wintry weather expected on Friday, teams are scrambling to make scheduling moves.
If Friday’s game between Mount Airy and West Stokes is snowed out, then the boys and girls teams will make up that date at home on Monday.
North Surry’s wrestling team is playing a day early with Surry Central, but doing the same with the basketball teams would mean playing three straight days, so that idea is out. Other contingencies are being discussed, Gammons said.