The extra work paid off, as guard Dave Wilmoth went a perfect 8-for-8 and Ethan Wilmoth hit four clutch free throws in a row to lead the Golden Eagles to a 69-57 victory over visiting North Surry last night in a crucial Northwest 1A/2A Conference game.
“When you shoot free throws and hit free throws, that’s how you beat tough teams like North Surry,” Surry Central coach Ken Eiswald said.
The win avenged an earlier loss to the Greyhounds and evened the season series at 1-1 for two teams jockeying for the second spot among 2A teams in the conference.
The Golden Eagles jumped to a big lead early and went into halftime holding a 36-18 advantage. But the Greyhounds came storming back with a 22-point third quarter. The visitors cut the lead to seven late in the third, but a quick Surry Central run put the Golden Eagles back on top. Tanner Hudson hit a follow-up as time expired in the third, then the home team got two buckets 32 seconds into the fourth quarter, forcing the Greyhounds to burn a timeout.
“I think it took a little wind out of our sails right here,” North Surry coach Chris Butler said.
North tightened up its defense and pressured the Golden Eagles every step of the way to score a 22-14 advantage in the third quarter.
“We outexecuted them in the first half, but I said they’re too good to think that they’re going to just roll over and let us win,” Eiswald said. “I said they’re going to come at us with both barrels and it’s whether or not we can withstand that push they make.”
The Greyhounds made it a 10-point game with 3:10 remaining when Tanner Easter hit a 3-pointer. But as the game went on, North was not hitting the 3’s it was chucking up and the Golden Eagles made their free throws.
After the game, Butler was still pondering whether a better first half could have changed the outcome.
“We should never have put ourselves in that situation,” he said. “If we play just a little bit better in the first half, keep it eight, 10 points, I think we make it a little bit better ball game in the second half.”
Eiswald noted his players showed poise to match the heat brought by the Greyhounds. “Find a good shot, take a good shot, be a little bit patient, be a little bit poised and act like you guys are a decent basketball team,” is what he told his players, who responded with an even game from start to finish.
Ethan Wilmoth had a game-high 21 points, while Dave Wilmoth chipped in 17. The Greyhounds were paced by Tanner Easter, who scored 16 points and nailed three 3-pointers in the final quarter.
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North cruises past Central
The North Surry girls jumped out early and took a 49-31 decision from host Surry Central last night.
The Greyhounds got a game-high 15 points from Nicole Rumplasch and 11 from Emily Culler.
Central was held to single digit points in all but the third quarter. It was paced by Brittany Tolbert, who had 12.
The Greyhounds’ tough full-court defense led to Central turnovers and quick points for the Greyhounds.
North swept the season series after scoring a 57-24 victory Dec. 11.
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