BOONVILLE - For a team chock full of freshmen needing a confidence boost, first-year head coach Doug Chilton was afraid his young Rams squad wouldn’t pick up win No. 1 until January.
Fortunately for Chilton and the Rams, they got that elusive first win under their belt in the Mountain Valley Conference opener Tuesday night. Starmount used a 22-point fourth quarter to power past West Wilkes, 53-48.
“This was major. For our young kids to get a conference win, it really helped the confidence,” Chilton explained. “I thought our defense did real well. We struggled in the second and third quarters to get some scores; we tried several different types of offensive sets. About halfway through the fourth, we got the right combination of people in there and we got some fast-break points. Then we got a couple of baskets from Heaven and Miracle and it broke it open. We were down two points and that put us up six with less than a minute to go. That pretty much put it on ice.
“But for these kids to get a conference win at this point of the season, we were worried it might be January before we’d get a win. But I think we have three more conference games before Christmas, and I think we might be able to win another one or two,” he added.
In a balanced scoring night, three players scored at least 13 points to power Starmount. Guilford College prospect Heaven Walters led the way with 16 points, while sister Miracle Walters and Darion Dobson added 15 and 13 points, respectively.
The Rams grabbed a 12-6 lead after one quarter of play, but the Blackhawks dropped 17 points in the second frame to take a 23-21 lead into the break.
After the teams traded buckets evenly in the third, Starmount exploded for their largest single quarter performance of the season (22 points) to close out the five-point victory, 53-48.
Stepping aside from MVAC play for a night, the Rams were unable to find the same rhythm against a tough North Surry squad Wednesday night.
The Lady Greyhounds, who advanced to the Elite 8 of the 2A state playoffs last year, opened on a 12-0 burst and led 19-6 after one quarter.
“We came out really flat, especially after playing [Tuesday],” Chilton said. “We were concerned about their height and how good they were and we just didn’t play as hard as we could. We picked it up a little bit in the second quarter and got a little more fire out of a few of them in the second half. But this game was more about getting some younger players some experience.
“We just wanted to try and polish some things. This is non-conference, so it’s just for experience for our group that doesn’t have a lot of experience,” he added.
Starmount hung around and kept battling, but North cruised to the 57-33 victory.
“That’s one of the points we’re trying to emphasis. I don’t care who we’re playing, they’ve got to really go after it,” Chilton said. “Even though we’re behind 15 points on the scoreboard, doesn’t mean we can’t play hard. Because when it comes down to play somebody and we’re only down one point with 10 seconds to go, we better know that we can go out there and do some things and execute.
“We just have to learn that and I think we’re making steps in that direction,” he added.
The Lady Rams return to the court Tuesday against Ashe County in West Jefferson.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.