PILOT MOUNTAIN — For the second time this season, the East Wilkes Lady Cardinals took home a win against the East Surry Cardinals. It was a close game, but the Wilkes Cardinals were able to pull out a 55-51 win over the Surry Cardinals.
East Surry came out looking to make an immediate impact. In order to beat the zone of East Wilkes, the East Surry girls took to shooting three-pointers early. This strategy worked as East Surry would score 9 of 12 first-quarter points from beyond the arc.
Lauren Rakes and Alexis Pardue dominated the boards to give the Wilkes Cardinals multiple shots per possession. Combined with the quick Wilkes guards, the visiting Cardinals led 15-12 after one quarter of play.
East Surry transitioned to its inside game in the second quarter. With the exception of a free throw, Clayton scored seven of the Surry Cardinals’ 10 second-quarter points in the paint. Clayton backed down the much larger Pardue and either knocked down the shot or was fouled.
With the increased pressure inside, East Wilkes adjusted as well to shooting perimeter shots. Lauren Johnson recorded her second triple of the game, while Rakes and Pardue knocked down 15-footers to keep East Wilkes ahead. Despite being down as many as eight points in the quarter, a free throw from Sheridan Kraft made it 27-22 at the half.
East Surry began the fourth quarter with more intensity on defense. East Surry forced four turnovers on East Wilkes’ first four possessions. It wasn’t until 4:41 that East Wilkes scored a point in the third quarter. The visiting Cardinals didn’t record a field goal until 1:42.
East Surry continued to attack the basket and either attempt a layup or kick it out for a jump shot. Clayton drew two defenders on her before kicking out to Lambert, cutting the lead to 32-29. Even though East Wilkes was held scoreless for most of the third quarter, back-to-back 3-pointers from Johnson and Ciara Pierce, put the visitors up 38-31 with one quarter remaining.
East Surry outscored East Wilkes for the first time in the fourth quarter by a 20-17 margin but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit set by the Wilkes Cardinals. Off East Wilkes’ 17 fourth-quarter points, nine came from the free throw line. As time ran out, East Wilkes recorded their 13th win by a 55-51 margin.
Clayton led all scorers with 25 points, followed by Pardue with 13 and Lambert with nine.
Reach Cory Smith on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith