By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
It’s starting to get colder outside after January began with a warm spell, but that certainly didn’t align with the Lambert boys basketball team’s shooting touch on Friday..
The Longhorns shot better than 57 percent from the field against North Forsyth, hitting eight straight shots in the second quarter as part of a 21-8 run to defeat the Raiders 73-53.
The Longhorns (16-3, 4-0 Region 5-7A) trailed 26-15 just a few minutes in to the second stanza before starting to heat up. Baskets by Braxton Beaty and Mitch Ganote started the run. After a turnover, reserve Will Baker hit his first of six 3-point baskets (including 5 in a row bleeding in to the second half) to erase the double-digit deficit to take a 36-34 lead at halftime.
“Will and Bam (Braden Bamburowski) gave us great energy coming off the bench,” said Ganote, who had a game-high 24 points. “Will is my shooting partner every day in practice. I’ve seen him make 25 3’s in a row. When I see him getting hot, we just feed him.”
As well as the Lambert offense played, Longhorns coach Scott Bracco said the opportunities came to his team’s defensive intensity.
“We were very active in the second quarter,” Bracco said. “When we got those chances, we were able to shoot the ball well. We moved it around and played unselfishly, and I’m really proud of that.”
Back-to-back triples by Baker at the beginning of the third quarter gave the Longhorns an 8-point lead, capping off a 10-for-11 stretch from the field in the span of about six minutes of game time.
North Forsyth (8-10, 0-4) cut the lead to four points on a basket and free throw by Cory Seitz with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
Lambert then finished the period on an 11-0 run polished off by Baker, who had 22 points off the bench.
“We preach next man up,” Bracco said. “When guys get an opportunity to play, we’re hoping they maximize it like they did tonight. Will knocked down some big shots and Braden played well on the defensive end.”
North started the game on fire. Senior Wil Graham scored all eight of his points on three straight baskets. Braden Collins had 11 points and Seitz finished with 12 points.
“We played really well in the first half,” Raiders coach David Sokol said. “Playing a good team like Lambert and being only down two at halftime, we did some good things.”
“Second half, we missed shots and turned it over too many times and against a good team, you can’t miss four or five in a row, it’s difficult to overcome that.”
Lambert finished the game shooting 28-of-49 from the field. They hit 8-of-17 from beyond the arc.
“For us to be successful, we have to play with a lot of energy,” Bracco said. “We have to be active, and I thought we did that from the second quarter on through the fourth.”
North Forsyth girls 51, Lambert 29
For three quarters, North Forsyth’s girls basketball team had trouble scoring the basketball.
Caroline Martin’s buzzer-beating triple at the end of the third quarter gave the Raiders the spark they needed on the offensive end to pull away from Lambert late, though, as North defeated the Longhorns 51-29.
Martin and Ansley Allen each scored 18 points in the victory despite the Raiders’ (13-4, 4-0) offensive inefficiency.
“We shot the ball terribly today,” Herrick said. “Luckily our defense was decent (and) we only gave up 29 points. I’m just happy we got out with the win.”
“We created turnovers in the first half and we couldn’t convert on the other end. We did a better job in the second half of finishing when we got a steal and a breakaway opportunity.”
Lambert (7-11, 1-3) trailed by four at 22-18 at halftime. Coach Chris Roy said he was proud of his team’s effort.
“We talked at halftime because we knew their pressure was going to turn up even more,” Roy said. “Coach Herrick has done a great job of instilling a defensive mentality. They’re as good as it gets when it comes to trapping the ball.”
Jenny McKenna led Lambert with 11 points. Katie Carmichael contributed with six points.