As rebuilding seasons go, last year for Surry Homeschool’s girls’ basketball team wasn’t half-bad. The defending state champions were just a couple of wins short of a chance to defend their title when the 2015-16 season came to an end.
However, young players in rebuilding seasons gain experience, and then they become a lot tougher. The Lady Patriots have embarked on an aggressive, challenging schedule to open the 2016-17 season, and Monday night’s contest at Millennium Charter Academy was already their 10th game of the year.
That was a little too much for a Lady Lions team that took the court with four freshmen, five sophomores and a junior in only their second contest of the young season. Surry led wire to wire and came away with a 63-29 victory in the MCA gym.
The inexperienced backcourt for Millennium (0-2) struggled from the beginning with the Lady Patriots’ defense. Surry mixed up its pressure defenses, sometimes setting up in a halfcourt trap and other times in a 2-2-1 or 1-2-1 full-court press, and the result was a lot of turnovers and easy baskets for the visitors. The Lady Patriots already led 8-2 four minutes into the game when Jill Boyd drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Sarah Shepherd, the only upperclassman on the MCA roster, stopped the bleeding with a putback basket to make it 13-4 and then ended the first quarter with a short jumper to make it 13-6, but that was as close as the Lady Lions would ever get.
Surry started the second quarter back in its press, which triggered after Krissa Hill knocked down a trey 50 seconds in. Moments later, Millie Cox forced a turnover out of the trap and took the ball all the way to the basket for a layup that made it 18-6 and forced MCA coach John Lovill to call timeout. Cali Tomchick responded with an 18-foot jumper out of the break for his team, but then the Lady Patriots ended the quarter on a 14-5 run to lead 32-13 at intermission, with Surry’s Jenny Brown coming off the bench to score seven of the points.
To its credit, Millennium didn’t quit, turning the tables on the visitors to begin the second half with some pressure defense of their own, and scored the first five points of the third quarter to get within 14. Unfortunately, Boyd got the hot hand again, and dialed long distance to make it 35-18 with 5:27 left in the period. From there, the teams battled on almost even terms the rest of the quarter, with Kayleigh Cooper hitting a baseline jumper at the buzzer to give Surry a 47-26 advantage.
In the final quarter, the superior strength and experience finally wore down the hosts, and the Lady Patriots went on a long run that completely blew the game open.
Boyd led Surry (6-4) with 16 points. Brown added 13, Cox eight, Lydia Clayton six, Cooper six, Hill five, Trinity Thompson five, and Catherine Edwards four.
Tomchick, a sophomore shooting guard, led the Lady Lions with 13 points. Millennium also had some success inside, with freshman post player Caroline Reid scoring seven and junior counterpart Shepherd tallying six. Claudia Cooke had three points to round out the scoring for the home team.
Millennium’s girls will take a break from their challenging early season schedule until Dec. 2, when they travel to the Armfield Center to face Surry again. The Lady Lions’ first three games of the season will have been against the 2015 homeschool state champs (the Lady Patriots) and the 2016 champs, State Line Rush, who defeated them last Friday night.
The Lady Patriots will host Morganton Home Educators on Nov. 29 before taking on MCA again.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.