By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
With a few weeks left in the regular season, Lambert boys basketball head coach Scott Bracco wants to see his team take it to another level.
In Friday night’s 64-45 win at South Forsyth, the Longhorns might have done just that.
Lambert forced 25 turnovers that turned in to 25 points, including 12 War Eagle miscues leading to 14 points.
“Our guys really focused on the defensive end tonight,” Bracco said. “We wanted to play a little faster on that side of the ball and our guys responded.”
Lambert (18-3, 6-0 Region 5-7A) led 30-19 at halftime before coming out and imposing its will on the War Eagles (9-12, 2-4). A three-point basket by Braxton Beaty got the Longhorns going at the beginning of the third quarter. A few plays later, Mitch Ganote’s triple off another turnover began a stretch of five straight baskets.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Bracco said. “I thought we played with a lot of energy throughout the game and especially the second half.”
During the 14-2 run, Ganote stole a pass and realizing Colin Granger was trailing behind him, through it up on the left side of the backboard for a dunk to bring the Lambert faithful to its feet.
“It was nice finish,” Bracco said with a grin. “Great assist by Mitch and an incredible finish by Colin.”
Granger finished with a team-high 16 points. Beaty finished with 14 points while Ganote added 13 for Lambert.
“I thought Mitch and Braxton did a great job of running our team in the second half in finding the open guys,” Bracco said.
South put had a solid first quarter, getting quick baskets by Jefferson Stepp, Devin McGlockton and a three-point bucket from Thomas Stocks.
But as the turnovers mounted, the deficit grew by to double digits just before halftime.
“When we had opportunities to make plays, we didn’t make them,” South head coach Scott Givens said. You can’t beat good times like Lambert when you turn it over that much.”
South Forsyth managed to put together a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter to get within 19 points at 63-41.
Givens praised the Longhorn defensive pressure.
“They just impose their will and we didn’t do a good job of handling it,” Givens said. “We overdribbled at times, we didn’t hit our spots. The physicality of the game bothered us a little bit.”
Givens added: “They’ve been the team to beat in this county and the region in the last five or six years. We know it’s going to go through them down the road and if we see them again, we’ll certainly have to play a lot better than we did tonight.”
Stepp finished with ten points. McGlockton added nine. Kohl Harris and Stocks each had eight points.
Bracco knows there’s a long way to go. Lambert has four more region games before the postseason, beginning with a trip at Milton on Tuesday. He said he hopes his team continues to get better.
“We’ve been playing great all season,” Bracco said. “We’ve had a great schedule and I just hope that our tough schedule prepares us for a late championship run.”
South girls 48, Lambert 30
Sophie Rosin, Kayla Casey and Ashley Breindl each had 11 points to help the War Eagles defeat Lambert 48-30 on Friday night.
South (9-10, 3-3) trailed 25-23 midway through the third quarter before ending the period on a 14-1 run that was capped off by a Rosin layup at the buzzer.
“It’s always helps when you make a few shots,” South head coach Keith Gravitt said. “Kayla Casey made some big plays for us during that run. At the same time, Ryane Williams got to the goal, Ashley (Briendl) and our team were sharing the ball. A lot of players were a part of it and that’s tough for (Lambert) to defend.”
Lambert (7-13, 1-5) got a game-high 13 points from Jenna McKenna and 7 points each from Ansley Dunn and Kristen Knaack.
“We didn’t execute the way we wanted to offensively,” Lambert head coach Chris Roy said. “We wanted to control the pace of the game to our liking and there in the third quarter, they got a few opportunities in transition where we couldn’t set our defense. That got them really going.”