Alex Atkins gave the Lady Bears an early boost, then Mount Airy pulled ahead for good against West Stokes in a 50-37 win Monday.
The Lady Wildcats went up 9-7 midway through the first quarter, then Atkins hit her third straight three-pointer to put Mount Airy ahead for good at 10-9. At that point, she had scored all 10 points on the way to a game-high 17.
After that flurry, Atkins had plenty of help as the Bears finished the quarter on a 14-0 run.
Andi Moore and Jasmine Varney came in off the bench and did some good things for the team, said Coach Howard Mayo.
Moore and Varney had fast-break baskets, and Davi Barbour hit a three-pointer and a midrange shot for five points as the Bears led 21-9 entering the second period.
In the first meeting, center Chris Madigan was nearly unstoppable with 35 points and just two misses in the paint.
Madigan hit the first shot of the second quarter and already had eight of the Cats’ 11 points.
However, the Bears would clamp down on her and allow just six more points the rest of the way.
“We did a better job of ball pressure which made it harder to get the ball inside,” said Mayo.
Kathryn Beasley fronted Madigan in the post, while Barbour, Moore and Mikayla Seivers hounded the guards so they couldn’t make easy passes.
When the Cats tried to lob the ball over the top, Symone Simmons was there to tip the passes away.
“I liked the fact that we did a good job of forcing them into numerous turnovers,” Mayo said. “I thought our effort was very good.”
Barbour led the team with six steals as West Stokes committed 26 turnovers.
Leading scorer Makala Bozman left the game early in the first quarter. She missed most of the period as the assistant coach helped retape her ankles. When she came back in, Bozman missed her first three shots before finally breaking through with a fast-break layup.
Madigan finished with 14 and Bozman 10, but no other Wildcat scored more than four.
“We did a good job forcing some other people to try to step up,” the coach said.
For the Bears, after Atkins’ 17, Beasley and Varney scored eight each, Moore six, Barbour five, Ayano Shelton and Seivers two each and one each for Simmons and Skylar Flippen.
Beasley led the Bears with seven rebounds.
The Bears have now won three of four, with the lone loss to Northwest leader North Surry. With a 4-6 record, the Bears are right in the midst of a logjam in the standings.
Mount Airy, Surry Central, Winston-Salem Prep and South Stokes are all clumped together, with six conference games left in the regular season for the Bears.
Even though the team has been playing well of late, Mayo said he still sees room for improvement.
The team can do a little better job of forcing the tempo offensively, he pointed out.
The girls can be quicker at getting into the lane or getting to the right spot on the wing, he said. And then, he added, they have to be ready to make a play when the ball arrives.
Still, he said he liked that his team kept the margin to double digits the entire second half.
The score was 25-17 when the Bears ended the half with five straight points. The run reached 11 with the first six points of the third quarter, and the Bears cruised to a win.
Mount Airy is back in action today at North Stokes. The Lady Vikings are 2-16, and winless in the Northwest.