North Stokes started their season 8-0 and suffered their only loss of the year at the hands of Starmount 77-50 in the first round of the Cook’s Holiday Classic last week on the Ram’s home court. The Vikings quickly rebound the next day and beat East Wilkes 59-47 for a third time this year. They followed that victory with an 81-63 thrashing of Salem Baptist Christian on Friday to finish fifth in the tournament.
“I thought we responded pretty well after our loss to Starmount,” said Viking coach David Anderson. “Lately, we haven’t been shooting the ball very well and it caught up with us against them. I’m glad we were able to play better the next day because it’s hard beating a team three times in a span of two weeks, but we did. I’m proud of the guys.”
The Vikings started slow against the Rams and could never overcome their poor shooting efforts. With the score tied at five, North Stokes went ice cold. Starmount finished the quarter on a 14-2 run to lead 19-7. The Rams stretched their lead to 34-18 by halftime.
“We could never get into the flow of the game,” Anderson said. “Our defense wasn’t bad and we only had six turnovers, but rebounding killed us, especially on the offensive glass.”
North Stokes didn’t score their first basket of the second half until Isaac Wood hit a three-pointer midway through the quarter. By that time the Ram’s lead had grown to 28 points at 46-18. The home extended their advantage to 54-25 at the end of the third.
Zach Chesnet led the Vikings with 13 points against the Rams, while Michael Smith added nine and Isaac Wood eight.
On Thursday the Vikings got back in the win column against the Cardinals. Chesnet led his team with another 13 points and Smith chipped in 13 as well.
Against Salem Baptist (8-9), the first quarter closed with North holding a two-point edge at 21-19. Wood led the Vikings in the second period with nine points as they extended their lead to 40-31 at the half.
The third quarter proved too much for Salem to overcome and North Stokes rattled off 24 points in the period and went up 64-45 behind five different Vikings scoring.
Joshua McQuinn led four North Stokes players in double digit scoring with 18 points. Wood added 17, while Ben Chesnet chipped in 13 and his brother Zach added 11.
North Stokes improves to 10-1 on the season and will travel to Bishop McGuinness (12-1), ranked second in the state in 1A, on Jan. 2 and play the Villains in both team’s first Northwest 1A Conference game.
“Our conference is the toughest in the state,” Anderson stated. “We have Bishop and Mount Airy next week, who are both top 10 teams and it doesn’t get any easier after that. We need to focus on us and play our game in order to be successful.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.