Fifth-seeded North Surry hosted and defeated the No. 14 Golden Lions of Shelby in the fourth round of the NCHSAA playoffs and the 2A West semifinals game on Tuesday night. The 80-64 triumph punched the Greyhounds’ playoff ticket to the Final Four and the West Regional final slated for Saturday.
North Surry (26-4) avenged a 67-51 second-round loss at Shelby in last year’s second round of the 2A playoffs. They will find out today if they will play at at Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem or Fleming Gymnasium at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Their opponent will be Forest Hills, who upset top-seeded East Rutherford on Tuesday night.
The game’s result may have been a culmination of the productive relationship between North Surry’s unmatched mental toughness down the stretch and the team’s cohesive ‘Steph Curry’ effect from three-point range.
Shelby’s Justin Boyd scored the first basket of the night 30 seconds into the game, and it was a 4-4 game a few minutes in, with Carter Phillips in the process of adding another five Greyhound points as part of an 8-0 run. The Greyhounds were up 9-4 before another Shelby score was accounted for. Mason Hawks’ first two points came from the free-throw line at the 3:17 mark to make the score 11-6. Shelby’s Justin Boyd and Dax Hollifield collectively held the game’s next four points as they pulled their team within one of the Greyhounds. At the two-minute mark, Hawks went straight to the hoop as he claimed his second score of the night. During the last minute and a half for the visitors, Quay Kimble hit a layup, and Darius Fuller a three-point shot to put Shelby ahead, but the last minute of action was all Greyhound ball, as Phillips scored to tie the game at 15 and then made a 3-pointer with four seconds left. Kimble banked in a 30-footer at the buzzer, but the officials ruled that the shot did not go up in time. The Greyhounds led by three after the first quarter.
Fifteen seconds into the second, Hawks opened with a jumper to bring the Hounds up by five. Boyd then told Ron King Gymnasium that his squad was still in the ball game as he posted the game’s first dunk. Phillips made his third three-point basket of the night during the first minute of the second quarter. Shelby’s Kimble banked his next shot, which was then followed by Chase Chandler, who repeated the same measure with a banked shot of his own. Boyd claimed the next four Shelby points with 30 seconds between each make. Hawks fed the ball to Casey Hull, who scored his first basket of the night to put North up by six. The game’s next makes were two 3-pointers, one each from Hawks and Fuller. During the final two minutes before the half, Fuller made a nice layup, but it was Phillips’ fifth trey of the half, second in the second quarter, and a jumper, along with Hawks’ one-handed jam, that sent the Hounds into the break with 1 10-point lead. Phillips claimed 21 of North Surry’s 41 points by halftime, while the visiting team’s leading scorer was Boyd, who held 15 points at the half.
The Greyhounds posted another 18-point quarter in the third, which matched their first-quarter production. The Lions matched them with 18 points.
Two 3-pointers were owned by two different Greyhounds before a Golden Lion came up with a score in the second half. Tucker grabbed a feed from Hawks for one of the treys, and Chandler hit the second. Shelby’s Bengie Camp tossed a no-look pass, to Fuller who then relinquished to a scoring put-back by Boyd. At the five-minute mark, Chandler made his second three of the night. Kimble scored the next basket for Shelby, but the Hounds had already mustered a 15-point lead at that moment in the game. Midway through the third, Hull was fouled on a scoring drive, he added three points and held another two-point basket, as he claimed the next five points for the Hounds. Boyd and Kimble then punched in five points for Shelby. Ethan Simmons at the 2:30 mark scored his first net on the night, and North led 57-40. A minute later, Fuller made a jumper for Shelby, and the Greyhounds’ last score in the third came from Hawks. The Golden Lions rallied and closed out the third quarter with a 7-0 run, and the Shelby boys were back again within 10 of the Hounds, equal to their second quarter deficit.
Nearly 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, Hawks logged two points from the line, which was then followed by a three from Kimble. Phillips blocked a Shelby shot and ran it back for a layup for a score of 63-52. Kimble chipped in two from the line and Boyd one. This Golden Lion production from the line was followed by a Kimble-Boyd alley-oop, which then pulled Shelby back within single digits of North Surry. Hawks made his second 2-for-2 time at the line in the fourth before North Surry Head Coach Kevin King motioned for a timeout. Out of the break, with Hawks’ two points carried over, the Hounds unveiled a 13-0 run that was left unanswered until the final minute. The run started with six minutes left of competition and was scattered throughout the next five minutes. In the run, Hawks and Phillips recorded four points each, while Tucker and Hull posted two points, and Simmons one. Shelby’s Fuller broke the run during the final minute.
“I thought we just got to a point where we refused to lose the game, we know that if we do what we are supposed to do that that it will take care of it. Offensively, we have to share the basketball, get open shots and attack the rim. Defensively, we just have to find some way to keep our opponents in front of us.” said King. “The best thing about it is, we are going to play someone on Saturday, and not be sitting at home.”
In the victory, North Surry grabbed 25 total rebounds, logged four blocks and tallied five steals. Phillips led with 27 points, as Hawks claimed 23 and Hull 13.
The Hounds also had an impressive night at the strike with an 86 free throw shooting percentage, as they went 13-for-15.