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Tese Ajorgbor felt all of the emotions that Forsyth Central’s girls basketball team had last year, a season that saw the Bulldogs make it to the region championship game for the first time in years.
She had some more feelings mixed in than the ones her teammates had, though. She was happy to see her teammates make it to that point, sure, but after suffering a torn ACL right before the 2018 season started, she could only watch from the bench as her Bulldogs played a heavily favored North Forsyth team for the title.
A year later, with almost every one of her teammates coming back, Ajorgbor is relieved to be able to make a difference on the court again.
“It's almost euphoric, just being back into your natural habitat,” Ajorgbor said. “After being out for so long, you just have this newfound appreciation and don't take anything for granted.”
For the Bulldogs, having Ajorgbor back is a big reason for optimism for 2019, with the Bulldogs looking to continue their steady climb up the region standings. After a year of mental, and in some cases physical growth, Central’s goals are a little bit higher now.
“We wanted to play in the region championship, and now it's, ‘OK, what do we do after that?’” Central girls basketball head coach Angela Hurt said. “We want to get to that point again and give ourselves a chance not only to just get to that point, but now get an opportunity to win that game.”
Having Ajorgbor back in the lineup will be a big plus for Hurt, who lost the 6-foot Gina Fishler to graduation over the offseason.
“I think adding Tese back is going to make us more athletic,” Hurt said. “Gina was great because she had size, but Tese is also very athletic. She jumps well, she defends well, she shoots well and she just does some things that Gina could do. Adding her makes us more athletic, which opens up the possibility of being able to press more and putting more pressure on them.”
But Ajorgbor is not the only piece that Central is excited about. Aisha Dabo is back for her second season as the Bulldogs’ primary scoring threat. She’s been in Hurt’s system for a year now, which has helped her development. In Dabo’s junior season, she’ll be looking to make a bigger impact on everyone around her.
“What my hope is, is that she's going to be more aggressive,” Hurt said. “I felt like at times last year, she got caught standing, and whenever she saw pressure, she stood. We're trying to work with her on her movement. If she gets the ball, her movement is going to open up the offense because she's just going to pull people towards her.”
Central has made strides over the last few seasons, but to Dabo, there’s still some doubt being cast her team. The Bulldogs are looking forward to doing what they can to prove their doubters wrong.
“They're still counting us out -- they still think there's only two teams that can really compete,” Dabo said. But we feel like we can compete, too, and win the championship.
“We just want to win, get better and have a good season. We want a championship this year. No more blowouts, none of that.”