Basketball alumni from decades back and a rowdy pack of Central Crazies dressed in black crammed into Forsyth Central’s old gym Friday night as part of “Domecoming,” and the Bulldogs made sure to stick to the festive script with a dominant 63-39 victory over non-region opponent Chestatee.
The contest looked to be a low-scoring affair early on, but Central (4-6, 1-2) knocked down two 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds of the first quarter to bring the crowd to a roar. Senior Parker Biederer assisted backcourt mate C.J. Smith for a deep shot before racing back down the court after a miss and knocking down a long trey as time expired.
Biederer was precise every moment on the floor, finishing the game with 12 points, seven assists and three steals. Biederer and Braden Ragsdale showed off some nifty handles and circus lay-ups in the first half.
“He’s amazing,” Central coach Greg Dirst said of Biederer. “He’s our stud. Everything runs through Parker out there. He’s our emotional leader, our ball-handler. I’m just proud to be able to coach a player like him.”
Ragsdale led the team in scoring with 13, while Jon Richards finished with five blocks and Monty Kurtz came off the bench to have an active showing with eight points and eight rebounds.
Central led 22-13 at halftime and then pulled away to a 45-23 lead at the end of the third quarter.
After what he called a “great” start to the second half, Dirst still hopes his team can improve on its overall shooting efficiency.
“We didn’t shoot the ball really well. It was a good defensive effort only giving up 39 points, but we need to shoot the ball better to be successful,” Dirst said.
Dirst also acknowledged the crowd, which used the loud echo of the domed gym to its advantage.
“Well, first off it’s great to play in front of a crowd like that,” Dirst said. “The arena never gets this loud. Hopefully that can be the environment we play in for the rest of the year.”
Chestatee girl 32, Forsyth Central 29
Julie Richards was on fire in the final three minutes of the game. She used two 3-pointers, both assisted by Caroline Hearn, and scored two layups in the final minute. Then, with the Lady Bulldogs down 31-27, Maria Hansen made a field goal and drew a foul to keep the Bulldogs alive with four seconds remaining. Hansen’s free throw missed and fell into the hands of Richards, who was immediately fouled on the return try. Richards could have tied the game, but missed the first and intentionally missed the second, sending the Lady Bulldogs (2-8, 1-2) into a heartbreaking defeat.
Overall Central was just 3 of 13 from the free-throw line and made just 11 shots in the contest. Still, head coach Angela Hurt was encouraged by a gritty defensive effort.
“It’s kind of been like this the last five or six games,” Hurt said. “We’re playing hard, playing good defense, but our shots just won’t fall for us. Tonight I think we were ready to play and did some good things as far as staying in it, not getting down and continuing to push, but it came down to a few shots.”
Richards finished with a full stat line, logging a double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Hansen added nine points and seven rebounds.
Chestatee was led by Lindsey Cuadell, who scored 15 points.