SANDY SPRINGS — Unselfish play was the recipe for success for Forsyth Central’s girls.
The Lady Bulldogs had four players score eight or more points as they won the Region 7A-AAAAA opener against North Springs 50-26 on Friday at North Springs High School.
"The way we’ve won in the past is spreading the ball around and having multiple girls step up and score," Central head coach Andy Martin said. "That’s the first time this year we’ve done that.
"I thought Kayla Bennett stepped up tonight and did a good job of handling the ball and getting us into some offense. … North Springs is quick, and they want to put pressure on the ball, but I thought she handled it well."
The Lady Spartans had a difficult time finding their stroke, as they went scoreless until the 3:21 mark in the first quarter, but only trailed Central 8-5 at the end of the quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs (2-2, 1-0 Region 7A-AAAAA) never trailed, thanks to their stifling defense. They forced 25 turnovers and held North Springs (0-2, 0-1) to only nine shot attempts in the first quarter.
"We knew from the beginning [of the season] that we wanted to hold teams under 40 points," Bennett said. "We were really motivated and were getting in their face. We wanted to put the pedal to the metal and [get going].
"I feel like the first couple of games we were kind of nervous, but the more we kept playing the better we played."
Central went on a 16-7 run to take a 24-12 advantage at the half and continued its dominance in the third quarter, as the Lady Spartans turned the ball over seven times to end the quarter 36-20.
The Lady Bulldogs scored the majority of their points in the paint and didn’t attempt a 3-pointer in the game.
Bennett and Kirstin Lindstrom led the team with nine points apiece, while Emma Kane and Julie Richards added eight.
"There’s definitely a bond between us girls," Bennett said. "I wouldn’t trade my teammates for anything. We always play really hard."
T. Falson paced the Lady Spartans with a game-high 12 points.
"I really did [expect to win]," Martin said. "I thought that we had gotten better each week and had a great week of practice. We came out and did things that we wanted to do, as far as running our offense.
"We had our lowest turnover margin, but compared to where we were, we stepped up. I’m happy with what we did."
Central will host Cambridge on Tuesday.