Lady Cougars head to finals tonight following strong semifinal showing

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: March 12, 2020 | 11:00 a.m.

SURRY – After a slow start, a smoking hot second half propelled Surry County High’s Lady Cougars to the win over the Riverheads at Sussex Central High School Tuesday night.

Coming back from only a one point lead at halftime, Surry controlled the second half on the way to a 37-23 win in the Class 1 girls basketball state semifinals.

Riverheads led early, taking a 9-4 lead in the first quarter before falling behind 22-21 at halftime.

But in the second half where Surry took control, outscoring Riverheads 10-2 in the third quarter and holding the Gladiators scoreless in the fourth.

“We got off to a heck of a start in the first,” said Riverheads first-year coach Preston Woods. “We got plenty of opportunities [in the second half]. We just couldn’t put the ball in the hole. When you play a team like that they’re gonna make you pay for every turnover you have.”

Surry Coach Maze Toomer said, “They did some things different from last time that we weren’t quite expecting.  But we pulled forward through the adversity and finally got it together –  that was the important part.”

Toomer related that the quiet time at the half when they were able to settle down and focus after the slow start in the first half made the difference.

“The one thing that hasn’t failed us all year was our defense,” he explained. “When they came out for the second half we just stuck to our principles.”

“There were certain things that we weren’t doing,” he continued, “and they backdoored us, and that’s just something that we don’t allow. We just weren’t being focused, so we just had to crack down and the girls just had to get focused and stick to our principles and it showed up for us.  We’re definitely going to go back and look at this film and then Thursday we can get to business on the first half, looking forward to Thursday nights state final.”

Seniors Bre’cha Byrd and JeRonda Kelly led the way scoring Tuesday for Surry in the state semifinals, Byrd with 11 and Kelly with 9.

Senior Bre’cha Byrd, who brought in 11 of the Cougars’ 37 points, said, “It started off a little shaky.  Felt like we were in our own heads.  But we pulled it together, listen to our coaches and came out with the W. “We didn’t give up. We knew that we’re all we got, so we just gotta keep together, keep playing hard, and God was with us so we were successful.” 

NeOndra Kelly, also a senior, said after scoring 9 points for Surry, “We had a talk at halftime and we realized what we had to do. We came out and executed our duty as defense – just picked it up on defense, came together and got it done.”

“You’ve got to play like it’s your last game,” Byrd added. “This could be anybody’s last game. You gotta have that mamba mentality – never giving up, playing every possession like it’s your last, playing together, playing for each other. So that’s what we did our coaches reminded us that this could be our last game and we didn’t want that to happen, so we did what we had to do to get to W.” 

Surry will play in its third-straight Class 1 state championship, after losing the previous two years to Parry McCluer, on Thursday at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in Richmond. Surry will play Honaker, a 37-29 winner over Patrick Henry, at 6 p.m.

Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
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