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Basketball: Creekview squads rout Central
Grizzlies' pressure stops Bulldogs' comeback bid
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Creekview’s Dee Blankenship and Lauren Johnson force a jump ball against Forsyth Central’s Kirstin Lindstrom on Tuesday at Central. - photo by Jared Putnam

Once Forsyth Central’s boys shut down Matt Leahy in the second half, a comeback seemed to be in the works. But when Creekview turned up the defensive pressure, it gummed up the Bulldogs’ works.

Central cut an 18-point deficit down to eight in the third quarter by holding Leahy to two points in the period, after conceding 18 to the versatile Creekview forward in the first half.

The Grizzlies responded with a full-court press that sparked a 16-0 run and carried them to a comfortable 72-45 victory over the Bulldogs on Tuesday at the D.B. Carroll Complex.

Earlier in the night, Central’s girls suffered a 52-29 loss to the Lady Grizzlies.

Leahy finished with a game-high 22 points, while teammate Beau Blackwell added 19. No other Creekview player scored more than six.

"They get all the credit," Forsyth Central head coach Greg Dirst said of the Grizzlies. "We couldn’t handle their pressure. They play too hard."

Ryder Bowline (13 points) and Clint Fenton (10) were in double figures for the Bulldogs (4-10, 2-4 Region 7A-AAAAA), while T.J. Custer and Jeremiah Jones added nine apiece.

Both teams started out at a break-neck pace through the opening minutes of the game, as Creekview used the fast tempo to build an early 10-point lead.

The Bulldogs tried to slow the game down after falling behind 16-6, but the Grizzlies (8-7, 4-3) executed their half-court offense well and won the majority of the hustle plays.

Grizzlies guard Chandler Hamby was the smallest player on the court in the closing seconds of the first quarter, but he snagged an offensive rebound along the baseline and dropped in a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to boost his team’s lead to 22-9 going into the second period.

Creekview nursed its lead to 29-11 early in the second quarter before Central began closing the gap behind Bowline, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the period. Though Central dominated the latter half of the period, Creekview went into halftime with fresh momentum after Austin Graham banked in an awkward 3-point shot at the buzzer, extending his team’s lead to 38-25.

Central cut the gap to 44-36 in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Custer before Creekview head coach Casey Grambling called a timeout with 3:05 remaining and shifted the Grizzlies to a full-court press defense.

"We knew they were going to make a run because T.J. [Custer] is a real good ballplayer and Ryder [Bowline] is a real good ball player," Grambling said. "In the past when teams would make runs we hadn’t been able to stop them, so tonight was a big step forward. Defensively we turned the pressure up, we trapped the ball handlers and got in the [passing] lanes and that created some easy layups for us."

The move paid immediate dividends as Creekview closed the period on a 13-0 run, then outscored Central 3-0 through the first 2:40 of the final period.

Creekview’s win snapped the team’s three-game losing streak, while the Bulldogs suffered their fourth consecutive loss.

Creekview (girls) 52, Forsyth Central 29

Forsyth Central’s girls couldn’t slow down sub-region leader Creekview.

The Lady Grizzlies reeled off their eighth consecutive victory, holding Central to two baskets through the first 11-plus minutes of play en route to a 52-29 win on Tuesday at the D.B. Carroll Complex.

Dee Blankenship and Hannah Murphy had 10 points apiece for Creekview (13-4, 6-1 Region 7A-AAAAA), while teammate Lauren Johnson added nine. Ellie Webb led Central (4-10, 2-4) with eight.

"They’re one of the top two or three [teams] in the region, absolutely," Central head coach Andy Martin said. "They know that our girls play hard so they come prepared, they do their homework. They have several girls that can score and are just balanced each quarter, they do everything well."

Early turnover problems left Central in a 24-5 hole midway through the second quarter and Creekview stretched its lead to 42-14 late in the third period.

The Lady Bulldogs were missing center Emma Kane, who is out indefinitely with a concussion.

"They’ll reevaluate her on Friday," Martin said. "We need her, she provides a scoring threat that we don’t have."

Both Central squads travel to Kell for another Region 7 matchup on Friday.