When county rivals South and West Stokes face each other on the court you can expect two things. There will be standing room only and a game that goes down to the wire. Tuesday night was no exception. Wildcat Isaac Spainhour scored five points in the last 14 seconds to lead his team to an exciting 50-48 win.
“South is a really good team and they’re having a great year,” said West Stokes coach Dan Spainhour. “We just kept hanging on and our defense kept us in the game for the most part. Isaac was really good at the end.”
Senior Brady Dudley put the Sauras up with his first three-pointer of the night only to see sophomore Elan Muniz match his shot from the left wing. After Isaac sunk a three, Dudley hit two more from behind the arc putting the visitors up 11-6 and forcing the Wildcats into a timeout. West closed the quarter trailing 14-12.
South Stokes opened the second period on a 6-0 run behind senior Ben Bowen, who scored his first points of the game with 6:32 left on the clock. With the Sauras leading 24-18, the Wildcats defense only gave up one point in the last three minutes of the quarter and the visitors held on for a 25-23 lead going into the half.
“We talked about trying to get Isaac and Elan coming off screens during the half,” said Spainhour. “We identified their players better tonight. We didn’t allow Ben to hurt us down low and kept Brady from splitting the gaps for the most part. Number two (Landon Parsons) hit some big shots and surprised us a little, but I was happy with our defense.”
The Wildcats opened the second half on a 7-0 run and took a 30-25 advantage, but the Sauras came roaring back with a 10-0 spurt of their own to go up 35-30 with three minutes left in the period. Parson hit back-to-back three-pointers for the Sauras towards the end of the quarter to keep the visitors in front 41-37 with eight minutes to play.
West Stokes tied the score at 43 and then went up 45-43 on Noah Spainhour’s bucket midway through the fourth quarter. After a free throw by Tyliq Hairston, Dudley’s runner in the middle of the lane gave the Sauras a 46-45 edge up with 1:24 left in the game. Two free throws by Hairston extended the Saura lead to 48-45 with less than a minute to play. After a missed shot on the offensive end for West Stokes, the home team fouled Hairston again with 22 ticks left and a one-and-one opportunity. He missed the free throw and that set up the heroics of Isaac Spainhour. The sophomore guard drove the left side. He pulled up and hit an uncontested three-pointer as the defender fell to the ground and tied the score with 14 seconds left. South Stokes elected not to call a timeout and drove the length of the floor where the attempt was blocked. Muniz grabbed the loose ball throwing it ahead to Isaac Spainhour where he was fouled attempting a fast break layup with 1.8 seconds remaining. He stepped to the charity stripe and made both to secure the come-from-behind win.
“We have to make our free throws,” said Saura coach Jason Clark. “They did a good job in neutralizing Ben and made us settle for outside shots. Isaac made some big plays down the stretch, but bottom line, if we make our free throws, we win the game.”
Isaac Spainhour led the Wildcats with 24 points, while Noah Spainhour added 13. Dudley had 14 points for the Sauras and Hairston added nine.
West Stokes improves to 11-6 on the season, while the Sauras fall to 12-5. The Wildcats will host Walkertown on Friday for the right to first place in the WPAC, while South Stokes will travel to East Surry.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.