Senior Karley Jessup led the way for North Stokes and scored 66 points in three days for the Lady Vikings at the Cook’s Holiday Classic held at Starmount High School last week. The ladies went on to win two games and finished in third place.
“I thought we played really well on the defensive side during the tournament,” said Viking coach Scott Smith. “We played together and overcame some bad decisions at times. I’m really proud of the girls and their effort.”
To kick off the tourney, North spurted to a 9-0 advantage against Starmount, holding the Rams scoreless until 1:45 left in the opening quarter. The visitors finished with a 10-4 edge entering the second period.
The Rams held the Vikings to two field goals in the second quarter, but Jessup connected on 7-of-8 free throws for a 21-12 lead at the half.
“We needed to continue our defensive pressure and attack the basket,” the coach said.
North Stokes extended their lead to 13 points after the third quarter and gained their largest advantage at 43-26 with 6:06 left in the contest. After a Starmount timeout, the Rams reeled off 11 straight points over the next three minutes and cut the score to 43-37 with 3:07 left. The Vikings survived the last game rally by making six free throws down the stretch to win 49-43.
“We were trying to hold the ball at the end and let them foul us,” Smith said. “I feel comfortable putting our players on the free throw line.”
Jessup led the Vikings with 24 points, while Sarah McBride chipped in seven.
In the other two games of the tournament, the Lady Vikings fell in the semi-final game to Surry Central 52-28 and won the third place game against Elkin 50-46 on Friday.
“Elkin tried to pack the zone and make us shoot from the outside,” stated Smith. “Karley hit some open three-pointers and we were able to force them out of their zone in the fourth quarter.”
Jessup finished with 29 points against the Elks, while McBride and Kaitlyn Johnson added seven each.
The Vikings improved to 4-7 and will travel to Bishop McGuinness for their first Northwest 1A Conference game of the season on Jan. 2.
Lady Sauras gain a victory
South Stokes Lady Sauras competed in the Cook’s Holiday Classic and placed sixth in the tournament with a 60-55 victory over Salem Baptist Christian School and losses to Forsyth Home Educators 59-56 and East Wilkes 64-33.
“Without a true post player we continue to be outsized down low,” said Saura coach Rodney Matthews. “We need to continue to learn our system and play at a fast past. We are young in the way we play and struggle at times. We simply lack consistency.”
The Sauras lost to the undefeated 17-0 Forsyth Home Educators in a close matchup. South trailed for the majority of the game before they took a one-point lead late, but a costly turnover gave the Hawks the ball back and leading scorer Lauren Bevis put her team ahead for good.
South matched up against Salem Baptist on Thursday and trailed 16-12 after one quarter of play before tying the game at the half with each team tallying 28 points.
Freshman Tatyana Childress led the Sauras with nine points in the third quarter to give her team a five point edge entering the last period of play. During the fourth, South converted 7-of-11 free throws for the win with senior Ashley James sinking three of them.
“We are not a deep team, so we have to play smart,” Matthews stated. “I like where we are as a team, we just need to keep growing and make better decisions down the stretch.”
Childress led the Sauras with 14 points against Salem Baptist (8-9) and 12 versus the Hawks. Mallory Tedder and Maddie Shore scored 14 each against Forsyth Home Educators, while Tedder added 15 against the Vikings.
South Stokes improves to 4-10 overall and will host Winston-Salem Prep on Jan. 5 in Walnut Cove.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.