North and South Stokes ladies team finished off the regular season against each other on Friday and then turned around and played each other in the first round of the Northwest 1A Conference Tournament on Monday. The Vikings fought off the Sauras in both games and won 54-48 and 54-39 and advanced to play Mount Airy on Tuesday at North Stokes in thesemi-finals of the tournament.
“It’s hard playing a team back-to-back especially when it’s your rival,” said Viking coach Scott Smith. “We had different girls stepping up each night for us. Sarah (McBride) and Leanne (Sessoms) were big on Friday and then Addie (Bryant) tonight. It was a total team effort.”
On Monday, the Vikings sprinted to a 12-0 lead and the Sauras didn’t score their first bucket until 5.6 seconds left in the first quarter when Tatyana Childress made a running layup in the middle of the lane.
Childress scored again to start the second period, but then Bryant drained back-to-back three-pointers to give the Vikings an 18-6 advantage with six minutes left in the quarter.
The fouls started mounting for the Vikings eight lady roster. The Sauras were in the double bonus with more than five minutes left in the first half. South took advantage of the foul situation and connected on nine free throws and a three-pointer by Mallory Tedder to trail 28-23 at the half.
“Fouls were a concern at the half,” Smith said. “We needed to play smart and still be aggressive against them in the second half.”
The Vikings mounted an 8-0 run to start the second half and forced Saura coach Rodney Matthews into a timeout with 3:17 left in the quarter. After the coach’s instructions, the Sauras scored six consecutive points and trailed 37-30 with eight minutes left in the game.
South cut the Viking lead to six points several times in the fourth quarter, but Bryant scored back-to-back buckets on a steal and pushed the Lady Vikings margin to 11 points with 3:09 left in the game. South tried fouling, but North made five free throws to close at the game for the 54-39 victory.
On Friday neither team had more than a six point lead as the Vikings overcame a 28-26 deficit at the half to lead by three at the end of the third quarter. McBride tallied five points in the last two minutes of the game to hold off the visitors for the six point victory.
“I’m really pleased with our team effort and fight,” Matthews said. “We are young and no one expected us to win seven games this year. In my eyes we had a successful season and I’m proud to be the coach of this team.”
Karley Jessup led the Vikings on Monday with 22 points and Bryant added 12 points and nine rebounds. Senior Ashley James scored 16 and had 14 rebounds in her last game as a Saura.
On Friday, Sessoms led the Vikings with 14 points and 14 rebounds as McBride matched her double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Childress and Ashley Brown tallied 13 points each for the Sauras.
The Lady Sauras finished their season 7-18 overall and 3-7 in conference play. The Vikings fell to Mount Airy 67-27 on Tuesday in the semifinals of the conference tournament and dropped to 9-16 and 3-7 in league play. The NCHSAA State 1A playoff brackets will be released this weekend and North Stokes will have to wait and see if they can squeak in as a wildcard.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.