Forsyth Central’s girls basketball team easily clinched a berth in the upcoming GHSA playoffs Tuesday night, jumping out to a large lead en route to a 61-22 win over Milton in the first round of the Region 5-7A tournament.
For the Bulldogs, checking off one of their goals for the season was as gratifying as it should be, but not as surprising as it’s been in years past.
“What I said to them is, it's not been long ago that we would have been excited,” Central girls coach Angela Hurt said. “It would have been an accomplishment to win that game to get to state, and now I appreciate the fact that we expect to get through that game. We don't act like it's the first time that we've made it to state.
“It took us a while, but I like the fact that just in the program, and you can tell by the girls the way they react, it's just an expectation.”
And early on against the Eagles, the expectation that Central would pull out a win was never really in any kind of doubt. Behind strong shooting from the field from Aisha Dabo and Elizabeth Pruitt working inside, the Bulldogs ended the first quarter with a commanding 24-3 lead.
Dabo lead her team with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Pruitt had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.
“I think that (Pruitt’s) gotten stronger and I think her confidence has grown,” Hurt said. “When you have two guards that you have to guard around the perimeter, that opens up things for Elizabeth. When they're pounding on her, having the guards on the outside opens up things, so the trio of having the good guards and really two good posts on the inside, it helps.
“I've just seen her in the last five games playing really tough.”
Ansley Carver started the second quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 27-3, and midway through the period, Central’s bench players began to have more of a presence on the court. The Bulldogs held a 35-15 lead at halftime, and after a brief reappearance by Central’s starters, the backups came in once again to finish out the win.
“Any time we can utilize our whole bench, especially in tournament play, we want to do that because it's important just to keep our legs,” Hurt said. “There’s still teams out there that can't do that — they still have to keep in at least one or two starters, but we've gotten to the point where our bench is strong enough that we can utilize our whole bench and think, 'We've got some big games as we go down the rest of the week.’”
Central will play West Forsyth in the region semifinals at 4 p.m. Wednesday.