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REGION TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Girls basketball

POSTED: February 8, 2014 12:48 a.m.
Brian Paglia/Forsyth County News

North Forsyth guard Lochlain Corliss and the Lady Raiders were tough to beat during the regular season. North hopes it can keep the winning going and capture a Region 6-AAAAAA championship.

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REGION 6-AAAAAA

Favorite: North Forsyth. The Lady Raiders finished atop the region standings with a 13-1 mark in 6-AAAAAA and 23-2 overall record. Led by head coach Eric Herrick, North began the year win 18 straight wins and only lost twice all year: dropping two consecutive contests on Jan. 18 and 21. Junior Lochlain Corliss is one of the best point guards in the county, and forward Caroline Bowns has a knack for taking over games. While center Avery Scarbrough may not be the tallest center out there, she makes up for her lack of size with a level of intensity not often found in high school athletes.

Contenders: South Forsyth, Centennial, West Forsyth. While North is the favorite, South took down the Lady Raiders on Jan. 21 in convincing fashion. If North and South do ultimately meet in the tournament, there’s good reason to believe Sarah Myers and the Lady War Eagles can pull off another upset. Centennial has won five of its last six and can often play better than its record may indicate. The Lady Knights fell to North by just one point on Jan. 14 and beat South by six on Feb. 1. West Forsyth can win just about any game when center Jenna Staiti is healthy. The Lady Wolverines are 12-4 with her in the lineup.

Darkhorses: Alpharetta, Chattahoochee. The Alpharetta Lady Raiders have a lot of size and have contended with some of the region’s better teams, which was evident last Wednesday when it took overtime for South to take down Alpharetta. Chattahoochee won six of seven earlier in 2013-14, so the Lady Cougars are certainly capable of stringing some victories together.

Outlook: One cannot help but feel like South and North are destined to square off in the region championship. Each has beaten the other this year, and the two teams match up extremely well. With two good coaches in Eric Herrick (North) and Keith Gravitt (South), a championship bout between the two could be one for the ages. Don’t be surprised, though, if West does better than expected. The Lady Wolverines have beaten South already and could pull off another win over the Lady War Eagles.

REGION 7-AAAAA

Favorites: Sequoyah and Creekview. It’s just about impossible to say which of these two teams have better odds of winning the region tournament. At press time, both were 12-2 in 7-AAAAA and split the season series against each other. Not only did they split, but the two games finished with identical scores: 40-33. Sequoyah may not have any stars on its roster but instead thrives by playing team-oriented basketball—winning with contributions from up and down the roster. Emily Ryan and Kelley Hartman lead the Lady Chiefs with 11.5 and 10.8 points per game, respectively. Lauren Hartman can be dangerous as well, averaging eight points to go along with 8.1 rebounds per game.

Contender: Northview. While Northview has a losing record overall (11-13), the Lady Titans have fared well in region play, winning nine of 14 against 7-AAAAA opponents. However, Northview has struggled mightily against Sequoyah and Creekview, losing all games against them by an average margin of 30.33 points.

Darkhorse: Forsyth Central. The Lady Bulldogs have struggled this year but improved as the season progressed. Even though they struggled considerably against Creekview, they remained competitive in both games against Sequoyah. Central could make some noise in the tournament if a lot of things go right for Angela Hurt’s group.

Outlook: Sequoyah and Creekview are the heavy favorites in 7-AAAAA, and it’s a safe bet to assume both will make it to the final. However, Northview and Central won’t be pushed around easily, and the road to the championship could include a few close games.

REGION 8-A

Favorite: Towns County. With a 9-2 region record, Towns County is the clear favorite to emerge atop 8A-A. The Lady Indians have scored 216 points more than any other team in 8A-A, and boast the second best defensive numbers in the region. Senior Eryn Cochran leads the way for Towns with 18.1 PPG.

Contender: Lakeview Academy. With a 6-2 record in region play, Lakeview has a shot to knock off Towns for the 8A-A crown. In fact, the Lady Lions beat Towns in their first meeting of 2013-14, 56-52, proving they can hang with the best. If it comes down to it, a final between Lakeview and Towns would make for an entertaining finish to the tournament.

Darkhorses: Commerce, Pinecrest. Commerce may be 8-15 overall, but its 6-7 mark in region play is respectable. Senior center Lily Mather is arguably Commerce’s most valuable player with 7.9 PPG and 12.1 RPG. She’s scored 10 or more points in three of her last five games played. Pinecrest, with a 4-7 region record as of press time, may not strike fear in its opponents, but the Lady Paladins have slowly improved throughout the season. Having won three of their last five, they may be able to build enough momentum to pull off an upset in the tournament. Senior Amanda Boyd leads Pinecrest in points per game (10.9) and rebounds per game (5.9).

Outlook: If Commerce and/or Pinecrest can rise up to a new level, this tournament could include some unexpected dramatics. If not, Lakeview and Towns will battle it out for the championship.

 

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