By Josh Holland
For the Forsyth County News
Forsyth Central’s girls basketball team trailed West Forsyth by five points heading into the fourth quarter Wednesday, with a place in the region final on the line.
But sophomore Jillian Bretz ramped up the intensity for the Bulldogs and had back-to-back steals that she finished off with layups both times, giving Central the lead with three minutes remaining in the game.
Central held on to win 51-42 to advance to the Region 5-7A championship, where the Bulldogs will host North Forsyth at 7 p.m. Friday.
West held a narrow advantage over Central for the majority
of the game thanks to a combination of defensive pressure and offensive
penetration. The Wolverines took a three-point lead into halftime and managed
to cling to that lead until the fourth quarter.
Bretz had been keeping Central in the game for the opening three quarters, and in the fourth quarter she took control of the game with her two steals and layups.
Central head coach Angela Hurt praised Bretz following her 20-point performance.
“She goes from non-aggressive to aggressive, and when she’s aggressive Jillian it shows why she’s one of the all-region players,” Hurt said. “She just picked up her intensity and that just sparked a fire in the rest of our team, and once we were able to get the lead, I think that fueled the momentum for us.”
Aisha Dabo and Tese Ajorgbor each had 10 points, while Elizabeth Pruitt added seven points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Once Central (19-7) had the lead, West tried to fight back with a three from Calie Thrower with one minute left in the game, but the Bulldogs were solid from the free-throw line, which Hurt also pointed out after the game.
“Elizabeth Pruitt making all those free throws down the line, that’s huge,” she said. “Just the fact that she stepped up and made every single one of them, whenever you have a post (player) who can step up and do that for you it makes a big difference.”
West head coach David May credited Central’s intensity in the fourth quarter after his team’s loss.
“They had a couple players who got really competitive and we didn’t compete with them,” he said. “They had a couple players who decided they were going to take over the basketball game and we let them do that. We didn’t do a good job of stepping up and competing in the fourth quarter.”
With the loss, West is 20-6 on the season and will play South Forsyth at 4 p.m. Friday in the consolation game for third in the region tournament.