In their third home game of the regular season on Friday night, Forsyth Central played host to Chattahoochee, but dropped both games. The Lady Bulldogs fell behind early and were never able to recover, losing 47-31. The boys’ team maintained a steady lead for the majority of the game, but they let the lead slip away in the fourth quarter in a 55-50 loss.
Central’s boys team (2-3) is a roster loaded with upperclassmen. All five of the teams starters are seniors and the role players off the bench are all juniors. With experience and shooting, the team is supposed to be built to gain big leads fast and keep those leads in clutch situations, but only one of those wounded up true.
Central stormed out in the first quarter with hot shooting. Senior forwards CJ Smith and Ethan Hester each hit three 3-pointers, giving them an 18-12 lead after the first quarter. The second quarter told a similar story, but it was senior guard Grant Cloud joining in on the action, scoring seven points.
With a 31-17 lead entering halftime, it looked like Central was on its way to eclipsing their .500 record, but the hot shooting turned into cold bricks.
Chattahoochee (2-2) started to ramp up their defensive pressure. The Cougars suffocated Central’s big shooters, meeting them well beyond the three-point line and denying the entry pass. The tactic worked. Central only scored 12 points in the third quarter, but they still held a 43-39 lead.
“We just didn’t make shots,” Central head coach Greg Dirst said. “You have to give credit to them.”
The game came down to free throws. Entering the fourth quarter, Chattahoochee was already in the foul bonus, giving them plenty of opportunities to shrink the lead. Chattahoochee missed 10 free throws in the first half, but they hit 12 in the second half. Central missed one free throw in the first half, but missed six in the fourth quarter alone.
“Fourth quarter free throws are always big,” Dirst said. “We didn’t make those either.”
Hester finished with 14 points and six rebounds while Smith ended with 12 points and three assists in the frustrating loss.
While the boys’ team relinquished their lead in the fourth quarter, the Lady Bulldogs (0-5) did the opposite. Their offense started extremely slow, scoring three points in the entire first half. This was in large part due to their inability to break the Chattahoochee press which caused turnover after turnover.
Central doubled its first half total within five minutes of the second half as senior forward Maria Hansen started to heat up. She had nine points in the third quarter as the Bulldogs shrunk the lead to 38-17.
Central started to find defensive success in the fourth quarter, allowing only nine points, the lowest scoring quarter for Chattahoochee.
“In the first half, we were out of rhythm,” Central girls head coach Angela Hurt said. “In the second half, we found some continuity and settled down a little bit.”
Also pitching in were Gina Fishler with eight points and Ashley Malone with two points and four rebounds. Coll