T.J. Custer’s 19-point performance wasn’t enough for Forsyth Central to pull an upset.
The Bulldogs got the score within five points midway through the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer as Sequoyah earned a 51-44 win on Tuesday at the D.B. Carroll Complex.
"I don’t think we shot the ball well," Central head coach Greg Dirst said. "I think we made more 3s than 2s. We tried to keep [the score within reach], tried to keep it close at the end. They’re a good team, probably the best team in our [region].
"I think my guys are trying really hard. We could have made a couple of shots here and there and maybe a few more stops, but you know."
After trailing 32-16 one minute into the third quarter, Central (4-12, 2-6 Region 7A-AAAAA) found its stroke and went on a 14-5 run to bring the score within seven, which prompted a Sequoyah timeout. The Chiefs (16-3, 9-0) still couldn’t find their groove and led 37-30 to start the fourth quarter.
Both teams started the final period cold, but Central inched closer and cut the score to 39-34 with 5:39 left. Sequoyah’s Brandon Ingleton knocked down two shots and guided the team to a 5-0 run and a 10-point lead with 3:55 left.
Custer tried to rally the team with a 3-pointer that cut the score to seven, but Central never came any closer. The Bulldogs cut the lead back to seven on three separate occasions, but Sequoyah hung on for the win.
Custer scored all eight of Central’s points for the team to take an 8-6 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but the Chiefs went on a 20-8 run to take a 10-point lead into the half.
Solomon Ajose and Dalton Satterfield paced Sequoyah with 11 points apiece, while Custer’s 19 points were a game-high for Central.
"I’m always proud of my guys," Dirst said. "Win, lose or draw I wouldn’t trade these guys for anyone else. ... We’re just trying to get ready for when the tournament starts."
The Bulldogs will return to action on Friday when they host Riverwood at 7:30 p.m.
Sequoyah (girls) 50, Forsyth Central 29
Forsyth Central limited the Sequoyah offense in the first half, but the second was a different story.
After going into halftime tied at 12 apiece, Sequoyah went on a 19-5 run in the third quarter to squash any chance of an upset and defeat Central 50-29 on Tuesday at the D.B. Carroll Complex.
"It was right there where we wanted it," Central head coach Andy Martin said. "... Putting the ball in the hole is our Achilles’ Heel. I like the score like that, it showed we were able to play defense. We were taking care of the ball and shortening the game by holding on to it and having long possessions.
"In the third quarter, they picked up the pace a little bit and had two or three [players] that could really shoot it. When they started making shots and feeling it, it just got tough."
The Lady Chiefs’ (8-11, 4-5 Region 7A-AAAAA) Emily Ryan scored 11 of her 21 points in the third period and was 3-of-3 from 3-point range. Sequoyah was 7-of-12 from the field, while Central was 2-of-7 with five turnovers.
"She was the best shooter in our region last year and she’s the best shooter this year," Martin said. "She’s a great player. ... She can shoot it [extremely well]. If we have to lock down a shooter, we can’t play our style of defense. It’s tough."
Ellie Webb led the Lady Bulldogs (4-12, 2-6) with nine points and Kirstin Lindstrom added eight. Central remained without leading scorer Emma Kane, who suffered a concussion in late December.
Sequoyah only led by six (23-17) midway through the third quarter, but Central couldn’t close the gap. Peyton Ledford’s free throw with 5:49 left in the fourth quarter was the only point Central scored for over five minutes and the Lady Chiefs had already taken a 20-point advantage.
The deficit was too large to overcome and the Lady Chiefs pulled away with a 50-29 victory.
"We just need to have something good happen for us," Martin said. "We work so hard and we’re executing our offense fairly well. We just need to be able to score and put it in the hole with confidence."
Central will host Riverwood on Friday at 6 p.m.