North Stokes is facing a six game losing streak, but it isn’t from lack of effort. Four of the six Northwest Conference teams are in the top six state 1A rankings and the Vikings are still playing without two-time all-conference athlete Zach Chesnet due to an injury.
On Friday night, North fell 75-54 to Mount Airy at home and coach David Anderson said his team continues to play hard.
“That is all I can ask,” he said. “I don’t want our kids looking at the front of the jerseys and think we’re defeated before we hit the court. This conference is going to be tough every night we play, so we have to prepare and be ready.”
The Vikings came out of the gate and took an early 5-3 lead on a three-pointer by Michael Smith and a layup by Joshua McQuinn, but Caleb Arrington and Greg Green’s back-to-back three pointers gave the Bears a 6-5 edge. Mount Airy used that momentum and ran to a 13-7 advantage only to see the home team knot the score at 13 behind the work of senior Austin Pruitt and freshman Ben Chesnet. The Bears finished the last three minutes of the quarter on a run to take a 22-17 lead.
Mount Airy showed their skill in the second period from the free throw line. The eight man Viking team had already committed 10 team fouls with almost seven minutes to play before the half. The Bears scored eight of their team’s 18 points in the quarter from the charity stripe to extend the margin to 40-25 at halftime.
“We made some early mistakes tonight and got behind the eight ball on some things that didn’t go our way,” Anderson said. “We have to play smarter and stay out of foul trouble because we don’t have a whole lot of depth.”
North Stokes had a competitive third quarter, but the Vikings fell behind and trailed 57-34 with 2:43 left. A 10-2 run to close out the quarter was ignited by a McQuinn dunk that rattled the rim and the student section, but the team couldn’t overcome Mount Airy’s lead.
Pruitt led the Vikings with 11 points and Weston Fulp added 10. The Bears had four players in double figures with brothers Donavon and Greg Greene leading the way with 25 and 19 points.
North Stokes drops to 10-7 overall and 0-6 in conference play, while the Bears improve to 12-4 and 5-1. The Vikings will host Bishop McGuinness, ranked fifth, on Tuesday, Jan. 30 and then travel to the Millennium school on Wednesday.
Lady Vikings lose to Bears
North Stokes hosted Mount Airy, the state’s number one ranked team in 1A, on Friday and struggled to stay with the athletic Bears in a 67-26 conference loss.
“We made too many turnovers in the game and missed a lot of open shots,” said Viking coach Scott Smith. “I thought our effort and defense was there tonight, but we struggled offensively against them. We will regroup and go at it again next week.”
Mount Airy sprinted out to a 19-2 lead after the first quarter and a 33-12 halftime advantage behind the play of senior Asherah Smith.
In the second half, the visitors continued to press the Vikings full court and 11 more turnovers allowed the Bears to stay comfortably ahead.
Senior Karley Jessup led the Vikings with 16 points, while Natalie Dodson had seven. Smith paced the Bears with 26 points and Shaunae Sawyers added 14.
North Stokes fell to 5-12 overall and 1-5 in the Northwest. Mount Airy improves to 15-2 and 6-0. The Vikings will host Bishop McGuinness on Tuesday and travel to the Millennium school on Wednesday.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.