Surry Lady Cougars Championship hopes crushed by three-peat Parry McCluer

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: March 16, 2019 | 3:15 p.m.

But they vow they’ll be back

The Lady Cougars went in with grit and determination, but after an early, hard-fought, early contest, a three pointer by Parry McCluer put them down 13-10 with 34 seconds left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, in spite of scores by King, Byrd, Nelson, Kelly and Pierce, Parry McClure led by 15 with 1:29 to go in the second quarter. Surry never let up, making up four points in the closing minute, but the halftime buzzer went off with the Cougars trailing by 11.   

After the half, Surry drew first blood at the beginning of the 3rd period with a two pointer by Byrd.  Fighting non-stop, the Lady Cougars outscored Parry McCluer in the quarter – pulling up to only a six point deficit with 32 seconds to go in the period.

Cougar Kelly dribbling around on of the Fighting Blues – Photo Credit: Carlos Turner

Byrd scored again in the beginning of the fourth quarter, bringing Surry within six with 6:10 to go in the game. Even when Pierce, a fierce competitor throughout the game fouled out with 2:31 remaining in the game, the Lady Cougars continued battling.  But when the last buzzer sounded the 58-45 score favoring Parry McCluer gave the Lady Cougars second place honors in the Virginia State 1A Championship game.  

After the trophies were awarded, Brown said privately, “I definitely wish it would have been a different outcome, but I’m very proud of our girls and super appreciative of the support we got from the community and our school and the school board and just the school system in general.  At the end of the game somebody has to win and lose and so that’s never really my goal. My goal is to prepare them to go out and do their best and I can sleep well tonight knowing that they went out and did their best.  When you have a turnover or a missed shot it won’t be the first or the last one a basketball player has in a big game like this, but I definitely commend their effort and their drive.  We’ve got a great group of girls.  We’ll lose 3 seniors and that’s always a soft spot in my heart because you see those girls go on to graduate and go to the next level.  But we do return a great core, and I know these girls; they’re motivated and they’re going to do the things that are necessary in the off season to get better and to come back and give it another shot. “   

At the press conference in the VCU media room following the game, Coach Brown, Bre’cha Byrd, and Jasmyn Pierce faced questions from a roomful of reporters.

Pierce breaking through

“First of all, I’m proud of my team coming in battling,” said Brown. “They never gave up. Lost to a very good team.  It took a while to get settled down.  We’d get within 6 or 8. In the third quarter we hoped to tire them out, and hoped outside shots would stop falling as they had in the first half. I take my hat off to Parry. They’re a very good team. They’re tough.  they’ve been playing together for five years – since 8th grade – and they work well together.  Make their free throws. A game like this I’ll take the lesson and not really worry about the loss.  We lost to a very good team, and I’m proud of my girls.”

When asked about Byrd’s bringing the score back up in the third quarter, Brown responded, “Bre’Cha’s our pit bull.  We use her on their best, most physical player.  She’s just never going to quit. I’m proud of her. Once we got it down to six, I felt like we had some opportunities, but then we kinda let things slip away. The day didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but I’m just really proud of our girls.”

In response to a question about her career at Surry Pierce responded, “We played real good this season.  I’m just really proud to make it here.  I feel like we’ve really grown since last year.”

Byrd added, “We definitely never give up.  That’s my whole motto.  Like I said last year, we’re gonna work a little harder to get back here.  I believe in my teammates and I believe that we can accomplish anything together so long as we keep playing together and keep becoming better ball handlers and we can achieve a championship.”

Lady Cougars take Second Place Honors in VA State 1A Championship game

“I always tell the team that twenty years from now they won’t really worry about wins/losses,” Brown added.  “They’ll remember the camaraderie, team and town rallying around them.  The legacy of Joe Ellis.  So as their leader I’m proud to be a part of Surry County Basketball.  I’ve been coaching 28 years and our community support is some of the best I’ve ever had. I’m really appreciative of that.”  

The press conference ended with one final question addressed to Brown as to whether he felt happy to finally see all the number twelves next to the roster for Perry McCleur. Responding with a grin, he said, “Absolutely.  That’s the best question of the day.”  

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