South Stokes entered Friday’s game against county-rival North Stokes as the number two seed in the Northwest 1A Conference after East Surry beat Mount Airy 83-70 on Thursday. The Sauras had to overcome a seven point deficit in the first half to beat the Vikings 69-53 on senior night in Danbury.
“They came out with a lot of emotion and energy,” said Saura coach Jason Clark. “They are a team that is very dangerous from the outside if they get hot. In the first half, they were more aggressive to the ball and out hustled us on every play. They hit some big shots and we were very fortunate to be up one point at the half.”
The Sauras sprinted out to a 5-2 lead in the first minute of the game only to see four different Vikings connect from behind the three-point line to take a 14-9 advantage midway through the quarter. South closed the gap when 6’9” senior Ben Bowen grabbed a rebound and converted on a three-point play. Bowen then made two free throws behind Brady Dudley’s first three-pointer of the game to trail 20-19 after the first quarter.
Senior Viking Austin Pruitt began the second period with two of his four three-pointers in the game, along with a layup that gave the home team a 28-21 edge with 6:27 left in the quarter. The play forced Clark to call a timeout. The talk from the coach ignited the Sauras to a 12-1 run over the next three minutes and they took a four point lead that the Vikings eventually cut to 36-35 at halftime.
“We stressed to our kids that we needed to come out in the second half with more energy,” Clark said. “We needed more effort and grit to finish out the game and I thought we did that.”
South came out of the locker room red hot and scored the first seven points of the quarter. The team finished the period on a 25-5 run to take a 61-40 advantage with eight minutes left in the game.
“We went from making everything in the first half to ice cold in the second,” said Viking coach David Anderson. “I can’t fault our kid’s effort tonight. We had open looks, but couldn’t knock them down when we needed to.”
Bowen led the Sauras with 20 points, 19 rebounds, five assists, and five blocked shots. Dudley added 16 points and PJ Samuels tallied 10 points and seven rebounds. Pruitt scored 18 points for the Vikings, while senior Layton Helms finished with nine.
The Sauras improve to 18-6 overall and 7-3 in conference play, while the Vikings dropped to 12-11 and 0-10. South will play the winner of the North Stokes/Mount Airy game on Wednesday at North Stokes High School in the conference tournament. The Vikings and Bears will play on Monday at Mount Airy.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.