Clinton defeats North Surry to claim 2A girls basketball title
Posted March 11
It took 27 years but the Clinton Lady Dark Horses are basketball state champions once again.
Senior Mikayla Boykin scored a game-high 31 points to lead Clinton past North Surry, 59-49, Saturday afternoon at Reynolds Coliseum to claim the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A girls state basketball title.
Boykin – voted the Championship Game Most Valuable Player –also tallied nine rebounds and five assists to go along her 31 points.
The Duke commit carried the load for Clinton this season with an average of 37.8 points per game, but Boykin said Saturday that she took a different approach to her game in the state playoffs.
“In this tournament I’m more focused, and I’m more about getting my teammate involved because I trust them a lot more than I did at the beginning of the season; we didn’t have a lot of chemistry," Boykin said. "But now I can count on them to hit big shots when my shots aren’t falling, or get great assists and them finishing the layup.”
Clinton junior Alex Canady scored 13 points – nine in the second half – and was named the East Champion’s Most Outstanding Player for her efforts.
North Surry stayed within striking distance of Clinton in the first half, but its 32.2 shooting percentage allowed Clinton, who shot 47.8 percent in the opening half, to take a six-point lead into halftime.
Boykin caught fire from beyond the arc early in the contest Saturday afternoon, connecting on 4 of 6 from deep for 12 of her 17 first-half points.
The standout senior broke the NCHSAA single-season scoring record – previously set by Shea Ralph of Terry Sanford – on her fourth triple in the first half.
The closest North Surry would come to the lead would be after junior Mikaela Johnson scored the third quarter to cut the Clinton advantage to 32-30 with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter.
Following Johnson’s basket, Clinton used a 13-6 run to close the quarter, capped by five-straight points and a buzzer-beater from Boykin.
“That was a good ball team. They fought; they didn’t quit," said Clinton head coach Chris Owens. "They made it hard for us in the third quarter, but our girls kept their composure and kept going.”
Clinton and North Surry played a back-and-forth fourth quarter, but the Greyhounds were unable to eclipse the Dark Horses lead late in the contest.
Every time North Surry started a run of its own, Clinton shut any chance of a comeback. The Greyhounds dissolved it deficit to five points mid-way through the fourth quarter, but Clinton quickly pushed its lead to a 10-point advantage.
North Surry’s 6 foot 2 freshman Elle Sutphin led the Greyhounds with five points and four rebounds in the final quarter. Sutphin finished the contest with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and was named the West Champion’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Greyhounds finish the 2016-17 season 26-6 overall and 10-0 in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference.
“I’m proud of the girls for what they accomplished – making history at North with the first team in the state championship,” said North Surry head coach Shane Slate. “I couldn’t be more proud of our effort. Unfortunately we didn’t do enough things to be successful, but that still doesn’t take away from the year that we had.”
Clinton earned its 30th victory Saturday in the championship game, finishing the year 30-2 overall and a perfect 14-0 in the Four County 1A/2A Conference.
“It was a tough ballgame; it was a great ball team we beat out there,” Owens said. “I’ve been telling my girls all week, [if] we claim it, we believe, and we work for it, we will receive it then.
"They worked hard and they received it. I’m so proud of them.”