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Central swept by Sequoyah
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Forsyth Central forward Peyton Ledford (44) shoots over two Sequoyah defenders in the Lady Bulldogs loss Friday at home in a Region 7-AAAAA game. - photo by Brian Paglia

After an even, hard-fought first half, Friday’s game between the Central Forsyth Lady Bulldogs and Sequoyah Lady Chiefs looked like it could go down to the wire. Despite a lethargic start to the night—neither team scored in the first five minutes of play—Central closed out the half down just one.

Then Emily Ryan took over.

Ryan, a senior and co-captain for Sequoyah, knocked down three 3-pointers in less than two minutes to start the second half, igniting a 20-11 run for the Lady Chiefs. This gave her squad a comfortable lead that would hold, as Sequoyah triumphed, 51-38, to extend its win streak to six games.

Central (2-6) believes it performed better than it did Tuesday against Northview—a 30-27 loss—but wasn’t able to play consistent enough to beat a hot Sequoyah group (7-2). While the Lady Bulldogs faded a bit as the game wore on, they communicated well, executed much of what they had been practicing and refused to quit.

With several big region games on the horizon, head coach Angela Hurt hopes these improvements will soon be reflected on the scoreboard.

"I’m happy with the steps we’re taking," said Hurt. "We’re continuing to get better, and hopefully soon we’ll end up on the winning side."

The Lady Bulldogs made it a point of emphasis to try to contain Ryan, attempting to box her out and pressure her with man coverage, but it was to no avail. The Sequoyah guard ended the night with 20 points, a game high.

Kelley Hartman came up big for the Lady Chiefs, as well, scoring 12 points to go with four rebounds. Her sister, Lauren, had five rebounds, and Kyli Schmitt had six boards.

Senior forward Emma Kane led the way for the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points and seven rebounds, both team bests. Her efforts kept the game manageable, especially in the second quarter when she scored nine of Central’s 13 points.

"She did a great job being aggressive and taking shots," Hurt said. "Not only that, but what I noticed the most was her offensive rebounds. When she wasn’t shooting the ball, she was helping in other ways by trying to rebound and get more shots."

Kane, however, was not satisfied.

"I thought I played OK," she said. "I want to be stronger next game. But we’re definitely getting better as a team. We’ve been practicing hard and it’s starting to show."

Central returned to action Saturday against West Forsyth, a game that ended too late for this edition.

Sequoyah boys 81, Forsyth Central 66

Forsyth Central fell in a frustrating, disheartening game to Sequoyah, its third loss in four games after starting the season 3-0. The Chiefs (3-6) stormed out to a 22-8 lead in the first quarter, and the Bulldogs were unable to recover.

"Our guys fought to the very end, but they just kicked our tail," said head coach Greg Dirst. "We didn’t give up, we played to the end, but I don’t feel good after this one.

"We played hard all four quarters, but that’s about the only positive thing I can say."

Sophomore guard Cale Jackson led Central (4-3) with 17 points, and senior Jeremiah Jones chipped in 16, including eight in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Josiah Laws had a strong game in the paint, hauling in nine rebounds.

Sequoyah was paced by senior forward Dalton Mullinax in the early going, who scored 17 points in the first half. In the second half it was Logan Tayler who took over for the Chiefs, racking up 14 in the final 16 minutes of regulation.

While this game was frustrating for Central from start to finish, one play in particular encapsulated the sheer misfortune and adversity Dirst’s club faced.

Early in the third quarter, Sequoyah’s Taylor drew a foul on a missed layup. He failed to convert on his first free throw attempt, but the referee called for a do-over after attributing the foul to the wrong player.

Of course, Taylor returned to the line and knocked down both shots.

Central returned to action Saturday against West Forsyth, a game that ended too late for this edition.