The hot start continued for the North Wilkes girls.
Getting balanced scoring and using a game-changing run to open the second half, the Vikings exploited a strong third quarter to take a 50-36 nonconference win over Surry Central, Friday night in Hays.
North Wilkes won for the second time in three days and improved to 2-0. Playing its season opener, Surry Central fell to 0-1.
The teams have split the last eight meetings dating back to the 2010-11 season.
Surry Central finished 24-6 a season ago, its best season in over a decade. Despite losing four seniors from that team, a lineup that featured two sophomores played step for step with the Vikings for the entirety of the first half.
Mia McMillen, a sophomore who played significant minutes as a freshman, hit a driving layup to give the Eagles a 23-21 lead with 1:21 to play in the half.
But the Vikings converted two turnovers to score the last four points of the half, part of a 14-2 run that flipped both momentum and the game.
Junior McKenzie Johnson hit a driving layup to tie the game, and a possession later, senior Anna Phillips drove the baseline against McMillen to give North Wilkes a 25-23 lead at halftime.
Johnson started the third quarter with a jumper from the free-throw line, and a possession later Liz Martin hit a 3-pointer from the corner off an assist from Phillips.
Shelby Roal scored on a cut to the basket off a Madison Byrd assist, and Byrd converted a three-point play for a 35-25 lead three minutes into the period.
“We made a nice run capped off by Liz’s 3-pointer from the corner,” said Steven Phillips, the North Wilkes coach, “and I think we maintained that nine to 12 point cushion the rest of the way.
“That really got us going in the second half.”
The Vikings scored on four of their first five possessions and were 6 of 14 from the field in the quarter.
“They got a little run there,” Mandy Holt, the Surry Central coach, said of the Vikings. “And I think part of us, being our first game, was maybe a little tired legs in there a little bit.
“I think we played them close the rest of the way. It’s just that little spurt that made the difference.”
Taylor Harrold’s driving basket gave the Vikings a 39-28 lead late in the quarter.
The Eagles got as close as 43-34 on McMillen’s length of the court drive with 3:12 to play in the game, but the Vikings closed the game with a 9-0 run, getting a basket from Rachel Winkler on an inbounds play, a 3-pointer from Makayla Cornelius and free throws from Phillips and Roal.
“Everybody played hard. They hustled,” Holt said. “There’s little things we’ve got to work on, but we can definitely work on that.”
Johnson led the Vikings with 13 points and Roal and Cornelius each added six points. Anna Phillips had team-highs with seven rebounds and four assists.
McMillen led the Golden Eagles with a game-high 18 points, and Jaylyn Templeton had eight rebounds.
“We played much more under control (in the second half),” Steven Phillips said, “and I think our experience was big down the stretch. Last year, maybe we struggle to keep that lead, but this year, being a little older, we were able to maintain that lead.
“2-0 does feel really good.”
The Vikings returned to the court on Saturday for the opening round of the Mary Garber Classic at Glenn High School in Kernersville.
North Wilkes dropped a 52-48 decision to Winston-Salem Prep. (See box in Scoreboard, on Page B3)
The Vikings trailed 26-10 at halftime but outscored the Phoenix by 12 points in the second half.
MaKayla Cornelius paced North Wilkes with 11 points and Roal added 10.
TreZha Muhummad led Winston-Salem Prep with a game-high 25 points and Tatyana Childress chipped in 12.
The Vikings faced North Forsyth on Monday afternoon in a Champion’s Bracket consolation round at Atkins High School.
Regadless of the outcome, North Wilkes will return to the court on Wednesday.
Notes: Holt is 144-100 since the start of the 2010-11 season…. North Wilkes won the JV game 34-22. Kate Brown led the Vikings with 12 points and Zoie Wells added eight. Lillian Orozco led Surry Central with six points.