The Forsyth Central boys basketball team came out of halftime Tuesday night against North Springs with a lead, a comfortable one, too, but this was where things had gone wrong so many times this season.
Braden Ragsdale put a stop to those fears, draining back-to-back 3s to open the third quarter and set the tone for the Bulldogs’ thorough 61-35 victory against the Spartans in a Region 7-AAAAA, Div. B game at home.
Central (3-6, 1-2) put forth arguably its most complete performance this season, even in the face of losing senior starting guard Cale Jackson to an ankle injury just 4 minutes 42 seconds into the game. Nine different players scored, led by Ragsdale’s 18 points on four 3-pointers. CJ Smith added 11 points, Ethan Hester had nine points and 11 rebounds and Parker Biederer added eight points, five steals and four assists.
The Bulldogs hit eight 3s, held North Springs (0-9, 0-1) scoreless for 6:35 during the second quarter and altogether shrugged off some recent frustrations.
“I was proud of the guys,” Central head coach Greg Dirst said. “We needed it. We got off to a rough start this year with some close closes, and it’s good to have a home game, first off, and a win on top of that.”
Jackson scored the game’s first points with a pull-up 3, but he was escorted off the court to be seen by trainers when he landed awkwardly on his right ankle after missing a short baseline jump shot minutes later. He eventually returned and watched the rest of the game from behind Central’s bench.
No matter. Central trailed just 11-10 after the first quarter. Hester hit a short fading jumper to give Central the lead to start the second quarter. Smith and Ragsdale hit back-to-back 3s that prompted North Springs to call its first timeout, but to little avail. Central went into halftime up 30-14.
“It was good for us to step up after Cale went down,” Dirst said. “We didn’t panic.”
Ragsdale made sure there was no second half lull. His back-to-back 3s put Central up 36-14 in the third quarter. He later added a 15-footer to give Central a 47-17 lead.
He did it all coming off the bench, a new role for the senior guard after starting on varsity the past two seasons.
“It was different toward the beginning,” Ragsdale said, “but I just had to look at it as another opportunity to come in and make a difference. I had to get used to it a little bit; I’d started my whole life. I think I’ve found a groove.”
Maybe Central has too.
North Springs girls 49, Forsyth Central 41
Julie Richards had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and the Lady Bulldogs erased a 13-point halftime deficit down to one in the fourth quarter, but Central couldn’t complete the comeback in a Region 7-AAAAA, Div. B loss Tuesday at home.
Down 27-14 at halftime, Central whittled the Lady Spartans’ lead to 34-29 at the end of the third quarter. When Abbey Fagan finished a coast-to-coast drive with a spinning layup, the Lady Bulldogs were within 34-33 with six minutes left in the game.
But Cierrah Perdue promptly made a short hook shot and Nicole Izuagie banked in a 3-pointer to give North Springs some cushion. Central never got closer than within three the rest of the way.
Caroline Hearn added seven points for the Lady Bulldogs, while Fagan had five points, seven rebounds and four steals.