WINSTON-SALEM — The Lady Hounds made it two-for-two in West Regional titles for North Surry High School on Saturday afternoon, following up the boys’ victory with one of their own, a 53-32 statement win over the East Burke Lady Cavaliers.
North Surry earned its 22nd straight victory with a 21-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters, going from a 31-29 deficit midway through the third to take total command of the game.
The Lady Hounds (26-5 overall) will play this coming Saturday at either Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh or the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill for the 2A state title. Their opponent will be the Clinton Darkhorses (30-2), who beat Bartlett-Yancey 68-58 in the East Regional final at Methodist University on Saturday.
The Lady Hounds owned the lead after the first quarter on Saturday, but only by a slim margin, and it would be that way for whoever led for most of the game.
The Hounds won the jump, and their first basket was scored by Maggie Hawks to tally an initial North Surry lead. East Burke’s Kieran Smith answered for the Lady Cavaliers. The Hounds went on a 9-0 run and forced East Burke coach Crystal Bartlett to call time-out. The strategy worked, as East’s Josie Hise swished a 3-pointer. In the run, Hawks, Mikaela Johnson, and Jessy Nichols all claimed a shot each, while Elle Sutphin posted three points. Following the three, Hawks helped the Hounds bounce back with another score, and Johnson won a battle in the paint to put her team on top 15-6. East Burke’s Kieran Smith ended that streak as her team started to close the gap. The only Hound basket of the opening quarter came from Martha Holt with 45 seconds to play, but the Lady Cavaliers had cut the lead to 19-15 by the end of the quarter.
The second quarter of play was the lowest-scoring quarter from the Hounds on Saturday as they were held to single digits for the first time. East Burke’s 12 in the second quarter helped portray an even 27-27 score at the break.
“We got in such a hurry in offense early and we stopped getting the ball in the paint,” said North Surry coach Shane Slate. “In the first quarter, we had a nice run out because we were attacking off the dribble and throwing it to our post players in the paint, and that made for some easier offense. We wanted to be more patient on offense.”
That second quarter began with a 7-0 run for East Burke before Taylor Duncan finally scored two free throws for the Lady Hounds. A minute later, Hawks deflected a pass intended for a Cavalier, and Sutphin grabbed the loose ball and took it for a score. East Burke’s Reece Davis went 2-for-2 at the strike and regained an East Burke lead. Hawks followed with her first basket of the quarter. As the quarter ended, each team owned 27 points.
East Burke only registered four points in the third quarter. One would think that they couldn’t have done any worse in the fourth, but they did. East Burke led 31-29 midway through the third when the Lady Hounds, and especially Western Piedmont Conference Player of the Year Johnson, came alive. She owned nine of North Surry’s 11 third-quarter points. The only other Hound to score was Sutphin as she chipped in a shot. The score was 38-31 in their favor going to the final quarter.
“We are certainly very excited about this opportunity and we are very fortunate to of had some good runs in the state playoffs to get to this point. We were pretty good early in the first quarter, defensively,” said North Surry coach Shane Slate. “We then got out of sorts a little bit on offense, and I was hoping we found find that defensive rhythm again as I thought we did a nice job with that.”
East Burke scored just one point in the final quarter. After three minutes, North was ahead by 10. Then Tiana Shuff picked up her second basket of the second half off an assist fron Hawks. Johnson picked up her first basket of the quarter with a no-look pass from Jessy Nichols. East Burke had been held scoreless the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, and had an opportunity to score their first points at the free-throw line, but could not convert. Johnson weaved around Smith and found her next hoop in the paint. There were three and a half minutes left of competition when Slate called a timeout ahead by 17. Nichols assisted Johnson for two more before East Burke’s Savannah Coble snagged one from the line. Nichols registered one free throw and Sutphin two to close out the fourth quarter.
The Hounds were led by Johnson, who posted the team high of 19 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Sutphin owned 11 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and three blocks. Hawks logged 10 points, three assists and a steal.
East Burke had two players with six points each, Coble and Davis, along with two others who owned five, Ariana Hawkins and Hise.