In a down-to-the-wire game of bragging rights, the Sauras defeated county rival West Stokes 65-59 in a non-conference matchup on Friday night to a packed gymnasium at South Stokes High School.
“I love and hate these type of games at the same time,” said Saura coach Jason Clark. “I’m just glad we were on the other end this year. I’m proud of the way our kids fought through the screens and were able to limit some of their three-point shooting. Our seniors showed a lot of leadership and heart on the floor tonight and rose to the challenge for our younger players to follow.”
South Stokes quickly shot to a five point lead within the first two minutes of the ballgame forcing the Wildcats into a timeout. The visitors cut into the margin 6-4, before the Sauras dashed ahead on PJ Samuels and Ben Bowen’s work on the inside. The quarter ended with a 15-11 advantage for the home team.
West Stokes rallied and sliced into the Sauras lead 26-25 with 3:28 left in the period.
Back-to-back three pointers by Landon Parsons and Brady Dudley put South ahead 32-25 forcing a timeout by West Stokes coach Dan Spainhour.
Parson’s added another three-point shot before West Stokes darted on a 9-0 run behind free throws from Elan Muniz, and buckets by Noah Spainhour, Kelin Parson and Isaac Spainhour. West closed in with only one point behind at halftime (35-34).
In the third period, West crept ahead on a three-point shot by Isaac Spainhour and grabbed their largest lead of the night 52-46 with 2:46 left in the quarter. But solid defense by the Sauras allowed the home team to finish the period on a 5-0 run when Tyliq Hairston’s hit a long distance three and Wesley Misenheimer’s made a basket.
Noah Spainhour rang in the final quarter with a bucket, but soon after 6’9” senior Ben Bowen had the home team crowd on their feet with an impressive dunk to put South ahead 55-54. With less than a minute left, West cut the deficit 61-59. The Sauras added a free throw, but after a defensive rebound on a missed shot, Dudley missed the front end of a one-and-one giving the visitors a last chance effort to tie the game with a three.
In the final seconds, a timeout blunder from West Stokes, when they didn’t have any left, gave the Sauras two technical foul shots to secure a 65-59 win. South has now won two of the last three meetings between the schools.
“They have a really nice team,” Spainhour said. “They compete hard and Jason (Clark) has done well with them. Our kids fought tonight, but we have some holes to fill. We are very one dimensional right now. We’ll get back at it tomorrow.”
Bowen and Dudley led the Sauras with 18 points each. Bowen added 13 rebounds for a double-double. Samuels tallied 11 points, Hairston eight and Parsons six.
West Stokes Isaac Spainhour led his team with 20 points, Noah Spainhour 18 points, Muniz eight and Kelin Parsons seven.
The Wildcats (0-3) lost 61-54 to North Forsyth on Saturday and will face Salem Baptist School on Monday and East Surry on Friday at West Stokes. South Stokes (4-0) will face off against number four ranked Starmount on Tuesday and then West Wilkes on Wednesday. Both games are at home.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.