Senior Ben Bowen led South Stokes to their seventh consecutive win, in a 79-44 matchup over Woodland Baptist Christian School on Thursday evening. The senior raked in 30 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three block shots with several scouts in the stands looking on.
“Our offense always runs through Ben, it has to,” said Saura coach Jason Clark. “He is always our focus, but Ben is an unselfish player and makes his teammates better around him. He gets them involved in the game. I thought we shot better tonight against their zone. They are a scrappy team and make you work for everything you get.”
The Sauras quickly jumped out to a 6-2 lead only to see the Eagles go ahead 7-6 on a three-pointer and a layup. South Stokes defense stepped up the intensity and forced turnovers, sprinting out on a 10-0 run behind the inside play of Bowen and PJ Samuels. At the end of the first quarter, the Sauras led 21-15.
Woodland scored the first bucket of the second period, but the Sauras continued to find Bowen on the post as they outscored the Eagles 13-2 to take a convincing 35-17 edge midway through the quarter. After another offensive spurt by South, their defense forced the Eagles into some quick shots allowing the home team a 53-26 advantage into halftime.
Bowen led his team in the third quarter with 14 of their 21 total points for a 74-36 edge entering the fourth period. Junior Avery Wood hit a three-pointer to begin the fourth, which started the running clock to put the slaughter rule in effect.
“We just want to keep things simple,” Clark added. “We knew they were going to play hard and we should have outlasted them with our size and depth. They had some post players hurt and that limited them on some stuff they could do. We wanted to keep them under 40, but they exploited some of our weakness and we helped them by trying to force the ball inside and turning it over on some dumb mistakes.”
Bowen led with 30 points, Brady Dudley added 14 and Samuels 12. Ben Hugart led the Eagles with 16 points.
South Stokes improves to 7-0 and will play former conference opponent, Forbush on Friday in Walnut Cove at 8 p.m. Woodland falls to 6-6 overall.
“Forbush will be a little better and play a lot of zone against us,” said Clark. “They have better shooters and a pretty good post player. I want our guys to focus and continue to play with a lot of intensity against them.”
Lady Sauras spear Eagles
The Lady Sauras wasted little time in taking control of their non-conference game against Woodland Christian School on Thursday. Senior Ashley James poured in 18 points and led South Stokes to a 65-17 victory over the winless Eagles.
“Our decision making was better tonight,” said Saura coach Rodney Matthews. “We have been working on that in practice and I thought Tatyana (Childress) did a great job of getting her teammates involved. Our press worked early and got us a lead and we were able to get everyone in the game. We had several players give us some good minutes.”
The Lady Sauras sprinted to a 24-5 lead after one quarter. James led her team with five points in the period.
South Stokes continued to force turnovers in the second frame as the home team dashed out on a 15-3 run to take a 39-9 advantage into the half.
“I want our girls to play up tempo with intensity and a focus on our defense,” Matthews said. “The last few years we had to walk the ball up and play in a half court set. This season our team is geared more towards speed. We have good shooters that can run the floor with anyone and we want to use that to our advantage.”
The Sauras scored the first 12 points of the second half and forced a running clock against the visitors. The home team led 57-13 after three quarters of play and finished the fourth period with little resistance from the Eagles.
James led the Sauras with 18 points, Antoinette France added 11, while Maddie Shore had seven and Mallory Tedder and Childress finished with six each.
South Stokes improves to 2-5 overall and will host Forbush on Friday in Walnut Cove at 6 p.m.
“Win or lose I want our girls to play with more intensity against the Falcons,” Matthews added. “Our girls need to understand their roles and play defense. It will get us some points when we need it.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.