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Basketball: East Forsyth comeback falls short against North Oconee
East Forsyth's Ella Holbrook goes up for a shot during a Region 8-4A game against North Oconee Tuesday at home. (Photo by Nicholas Sullivan)

With senior standouts Alison Hiddema and Ella Holbrook sitting on the bench — the former having suffered a season-ending knee injury, the latter having fouled out — the East Forsyth girls basketball team's chances of a late comeback against North Oconee seemed unlikely Tuesday at home.

However, the Broncos showed grit and determination to nearly overcome a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter before running out of time in a 58-54 defeat in Region 8-4A action.

The teams played out an even first quarter filled with strong defense, as the Titans took a slim 8-7 advantage into the second period. North Oconee found its offensive rhythm in the quarter to hold a 23-15 edge by halftime.

As the game began to open up, Maddie Abercrombie kept East Forsyth (5-5, 2-2) within striking distance. The senior scored all 10 of her points in the second half.

Abercrombie, Holbrook and Ayla Heard each hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter after the Broncos failed to connect from distance even once in the opening half.

The Titans, though, seemed to have an answer each time the hosts gained momentum, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to carry a 44-33 advantage into the final period.

Heard opened the fourth quarter with a trey, as the sophomore dropped home 10 of her team-high 17 points over the final eight minutes.

East Forsyth found itself down 51-37 midway through the quarter and 58-48 with under three minutes remaining, but five 3-pointers in the period kept the Broncos in the game.

The final trey for East Forsyth came from Caroline Castleberry to kickstart a 6-0 run to end the game. Unfortunately for East Forsyth, that wasn't a big enough spurt to close the gap.