The students had arrived in droves. Alumnus from Forsyth County High basketball teams past filled rows of bleachers. Even the court, now more than five decades old, was still in good condition.
All Forsyth Central needed to cap off its ‘Domecoming’ was a win in the first varsity boys basketball game played in the building since Feb. 14, 1997.
The Bulldogs spotted North Springs a double-digit first half lead and trailed by as many as seven in the third quarter. No matter. Eight different players scored in the second half as Central snapped a 13-game losing streak with a 69-60 win on Friday night.
"The atmosphere was tremendous, the kids turned out," Central coach Greg Dirst said. "We didn’t exactly play perfect but we played hard enough to win. I love this place and I’m proud of my guys tonight."
Sophomore guard Hunter McDonald led Central (6-16 overall, 3-6 Region 7-AAAAA, Div. B) with 22 points. The opening quarter could’ve been far worse for the Bulldogs. North Springs hit six three-pointers, but McDonald had Central’s first seven points and 12 in the first eight minutes.
"How about that kid," Dirst said. "He kept us in it early. Man, I’m so proud of him. He comes in in the mornings and works and he just wants to be a good player."
Dirst said Central started out in a zone defense in order to stay in front of a small, quick North Springs (2-17, 1-6) team. The Spartans’ hot shooting made Central switch to man-to-man, and it worked—North Springs made only three 3-pointers in the final three quarters.
Jordan Hall finished with a game-high 32 points for North Springs, including 14 of the Spartans’ 15 fourth quarter points.
Jon Richards’ back-to-back layups just before halftime drew Central within five, thought it took nearly the entire third quarter for the home side to re-take the lead. Clint Fenton tied proceedings at 45-all with an and-one and Cale Jackson’s corner 3 with 1:11 left in the quarter put Central up for good.
North Springs did all it could, twice drawing within six points inside the final two minutes, but Parker Biederer went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line to close out Central’s first win since Dec. 13 at Pinecrest.
"For those kids, having already lost 13 or 14 or whatever it is in a row, to keep coming back and keep coming back…" Dirst said, and then paused. "Hopefully it’s something our seniors will remember for a long time. It was a special night for me and I’m glad we’re able to come out on top."
Forsyth Central boys 69, North Springs 60
North Springs 22 13 10 15_60
Forsyth Central 18 12 18 21_69
North Springs: Hall 32, Vianna 11, Alexander 9, Vargas 4, Wright 4.
Forsyth Central: McDonald 22, Fenton 9, Jackson 9, Biederer 8, Hodges 7, Maron 5, Richards 4, Brown 2, Ragsdale 2, Kurtz 1.