North Forsyth’s girls needed a stimulus package of their own Friday night, as the Lady Raiders scored five points over essentially the last quarter-and-a-half in a 56-48 loss to visiting North Gwinnett.
North coach Jack Sarfaty cited some second-half defensive adjustments by Bulldog coach Tony Watkins that gave his girls trouble. At one point in the third quarter, North (8-15 overall, 4-12 Region 7-AAAAA) led 43-34 but managed only one more basket from there, along with three free throws.
“We were getting some good looks and knocking down some shots [in the first half]. We weren’t able to make those same shots in the second half and that’s just the ball not falling,” Sarfaty said.
“Then it got to the fourth quarter and you could see the lead dwindling and I’m [thinking] ‘Will that clock ever run?’ and it just didn’t run fast enough.”
Stephanie Wheeler was a one-woman offense for the Lady Bulldogs in the second half, scoring 23 points after being shut out before halftime. Wheeler had 14 of North Gwinnett’s 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“She’s their go-to player. Wheeler, she’s a terrific player and we knew to key on her. We did a great job the first half and shut her down,” Sarfaty said, adding that his team lost track of Wheeler a few times in the second half, resulting in some wide-open looks for the junior guard.
“She really got it rolling, she played like a leader.”
Abby Slocumb and Stephanie Owen each scored 10 points to help the Lady Bulldogs to victory.
Callan Bennett had 17 for the Lady Raiders.
North finishes up the regular season this week, playing host to Norcross on Tuesday before traveling to Chattahoochee on Friday.