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Basketball: Smith's 29 points lead Forsyth Central past South Forsyth
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Forsyth Central’s CJ Smith had a game-high 29 points in the Bulldogs’ win against South Forsyth on Friday. - photo by Dave Williamson

C.J. Smith’s 29 points led the Forsyth Central boys to a thrilling 55-43 win over South in The Dome on Friday night.

On its homecoming night, Central (5-6, 1-0 Region 5-7A) elected to play this game in The Dome instead of the usual arena, and the atmosphere was rowdy to say the least.

“I love it,” Smith said. “I love the dome gym. We’re 3-0 in it. So I think we should play in it more often.”

Smith was feeling it in this game. The senior hit five 3s and 18 of his 29 points came in the second half.

“We didn’t do a good job of guarding Smith,” South head coach Scott Givens said. “He had 29. He was big tonight. He was big-time. You gotta give him credit.”

This game went back and forth the whole game. South (3-7, 0-1) carried a 22-21 lead into the half, and the score was actually tied at 36-apiece entering the fourth.

But that’s when the Bulldogs took over.

Central outscored South 19-5 in the game’s final quarter to win by a comfortable margin.

“I thought we showed some aggression and some toughness tonight that I was proud of our guys,” Central head coach Greg Dirst said. “They played really hard. We were able to make free throws down the stretch and that kinda helped us with the lead and we took care of the ball.”

The UNC-Wilmington commit, Evan Cole, scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the contest, but two quick fouls forced him to the South bench early in the second quarter.

“I don’t think you stop Evan Cole, he just might’ve had an off-night,” Dirst said. “We tried to keep him in front of us and make him shoot over us, but he’s a great player. We were fortunate he missed some shots tonight.”

Things were a little different on the girls’ side.

South’s girls dominated Central 69-30 in a very physical contest in the first game of the evening.

The Lady War Eagles (6-4, 1-0) were stifling on the defensive side of the ball. They forced the Lady Bulldogs (0-11, 0-1) into 31 turnovers on the night, including 19 in the first half.

After carrying a 46-28 lead into the fourth quarter, South outscored Central 25-2 in the game’s final eight minutes.

Three War Eagles scored in double figures. Juniors Zoe Maisel and Sara Indris each scored 16, while senior Emily Dresinksi added 12.