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Road ends for Raider hoopsters
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Forsyth County News
HOSCHTON — The hole was just too deep for North Forsyth’s girls on Monday.

The Lady Raiders fell into a 38-21 halftime deficit against Northview, playing in the first round of the Region 7-AAAAA tournament at Mill Creek. A decent fourth-quarter run reduced the margin to single digits, but North ultimately fell 70-58.

North coach Jack Sarfaty said his team had its hands full with the Lady Titans, whose three top scorers were all in double figures — by halftime.

“They’re a good team. Their record doesn’t show how good they are,” Sarfaty said.

The coach said he considered it a minor victory to hold Northview’s Sydney Wallace to 20 points, before adding that the performances of Felisha Richardson (18 points) and Quanesia Coleman (17) provided too much offense for North to handle.

“You’d get one under control, and the other two step up,” he said.

North shook off some of its offensive doldrums in the second half, thanks largely to Callan Bennet’s game-high 26-point outing. Bennett scored 22 points in the second half, and North managed to carve what had been a 17-point margin to eight points late in the fourth quarter, but the run came too late to really threaten the Lady Titans, who advanced to the second round to meet host Mill Creek.

North ended the season at 8-18.

In the end, it was a defensive effort that saw Northview converting layups nearly at will for long stretches that proved the difference, Sarfaty said.

“It comes back to being able to make a stop, and giving up 70 points is way too many,” the coach said.

North Gwinnett (boys) 59, North Forsyth 48

For a while Monday night, it looked like North Forsyth and North Gwinnett might just trade the lead down to the end.
Then the Bulldogs got down to business in the Region 7-AAAAA tournament, and the Raiders were left behind in a loss at Mill Creek.

Raiders coach Bobby Pless said he felt that shooting percentage was the key difference, noting that his guys hit only one-of-16 three-point attempts.

“We felt like for us to be successful this year, we had to be able to knock down the shots from the outside,” Pless said.

North Gwinnett held a 20-19 lead at halftime, and the one-point margin was still the difference deep into the third quarter, as the game saw 10 lead changes in the middle two periods.

By the end of the third, though, North Gwinnett had opened up a 37-30 advantage. Pless noted that his team missed six shots around the basket during the third, which he pointed to as the difference-making quarter. He said that the Raiders didn’t take advantage of North Gwinnett’s pressure defense in the third, giving up turnovers and failing to convert open baskets.

“We just needed to get stops and convert some baskets right there, and that’s where I see the difference,” the coach said.

“Like they always say, when the ball goes in, things look a whole lot better.”

Despite a 10-16 record, Pless said the night-in, night-out effort from this year’s Raider squad was the best he’s seen in three seasons.

Kyle Branch (12 points) and Travis Techo (11) led North Gwinnett in the win.

North Forsyth’s top scorers were Nathan Smith (12) and Riley Smith (10).

E-mail BJ Corbitt at