The Mount Airy News
TOAST -- North Surry couldn’t beat Starmount for the third time this season, falling to the Rams 79-71 in overtime.
The Greyhounds won the first two contests in the regular season, however this time around Starmount fought off a late North Surry rally to pick up the overtime victory in the first round of the Mountain Valley 2-A Conference tournament.
Blaize Brintle led the Greyhounds with 19 points in the losing effort, while Tanner Hiatt chipped in 18 points.
Shane Bryant paced the Rams in the victory with a game-high 31 points, while Tyler Jackson (16 points) and Jake Barr (15 points) also hit double figures in the win.
North Surry Coach Chris Butler said Bryant’s play was critical in the loss.
“He is one of the better players overall in the conference,” Butler said. “We contested most of his shots but he was on tonight.”
In the beginning neither team could muster up anything offensively, as Starmount held a 13-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After a Tanner Easter 3-pointer cut the Starmount lead to 15-11 in the second quarter, Bryant would begin to heat up, going on a 6-0 run all by himself to push the Rams lead back to 21-11 before Butler was forced to call a time-out.
However, behind 3-pointers from Easter and Brintle, North was able to chip away at the lead to cut it to 27-23 at the half.
Butler said he thought his team lacked the same intensity as Starmount to begin the game.
“They came out with more energy in the first half,” Butler said. “We got down early, and had to play catch up the rest of the game.”
To start the third quarter Bryant connected on two quick 3-pointers to push Starmount’s lead to 35-25.
With the score at 35-27 North’s J.B. Coram connected on back-to-back lay-ins to cut the lead down to four.
With just over three minutes remaining in the third, Coram went up for a rebound and came down awkwardly on his ankle.
Grimacing in pain, Coram would leave the game and not return.
Butler was not sure of the severity of his center’s injury following the game.
“As of right now, all I know is that he has an ankle injury,” Butler said.
After the injury to Coram, North’s Blaize Brintle picked up the slack for the Greyhounds, going on an 8-0 solo run to give North its first lead of the game at 44-42, with the Greyhounds taking a 45-44 lead at the end of the third.
Starmount would start the fourth quarter making a quick 5-0 run to regain the lead at 49-45.
After Greyhounds’ Easter connected on a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one, Bryant once again took control, going on yet another run by himself.
After a Bryant lay-in put the Rams up 55-48, Butler would once again be forced to burn a timeout.
North responded after the timeout, going on a 7-0 run of its own to knot the score at 55.
Butler said during the timeout he gave his team a choice to continue or give up.
“We told them they had to decide to fight back or to just roll over and we obviously fought back and got back in it,” Butler said.
With North down 61-57 and being forced to foul, Easter would give his team a crucial 3-pointer to cut the Rams lead to 61-60.
After two free throws by Starmount’s Jackson to put North down 63-60, Tanner Hiatt would pull up from straight away and knock down a three to even up the score with just under 30 seconds remaining.
Starmount held for the last shot, but Jake Barr and Jackson couldn’t connect, sending the game into overtime.
In the overtime, North got on the board first with a Hiatt jumper, but Bryant came up big again, connecting on two straight 3-pointers to put Starmount up 69-65.
After a turnover by the Rams, Brintle spotted up in the left corner and nailed a three to cut the lead back down to one at 69-68, but that was as close as the Greyhounds would come.
With North being forced to foul, Starmount cashed in on its free-throw opportunities, going 6-for-6 down the stretch to pick up the win.
Butler said Bryant’s two 3’s and late game free-throw shooting were key in the overtime.
“Bryant hit two big 3’s to give them the lead and when we were forced to foul they didn’t miss from the line,” he said.
With the loss, North drops to 11-12 overall, most likely putting the Greyhounds on the road next week in the first round of the NCHSAA State Playoffs.
• • •
The Forbush boys lost their MVAC opener Monday night, 70-57 at North Wilkes. Starmount and Forbush girls teams will play Tuesday night, with the Rams hosting Surry Central and the Falcons traveling to Wilkes Central.
Starmount 79, North Surry 71
MVAC Boys Tournament • First Round • Monday • at Toast
STARMOUNT — 13 14 17 19 16 — 79
NORTH SURRY —8 15 22 18 8 — 71
Starmount — Shane Bryant 31, Tyler Jackson 16, Jake Barr 15, Vanhoy 2, Dobson 5, Purdue 6, Johnson 4.
North Surry — Blaize Brintle 19, Tanner Hiatt 18, Tanner Easter 12, Coram 9, Phipps 9, Mack 3, Hughes 2.