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Basketball: Lambert survives Forsyth Central's fourth-quarter surge
Braxton Beaty
Lambert senior Braxton Beaty, center, drives toward the basket Tuesday during the Longhorns' 71-70 win against Forsyth Central. - photo by David Roberts

Lambert is undefeated in 2020.

Senior Colin Granger sank a pair of free throws in the final seconds, Lambert's defense survived Forsyth Central's final possession and the Longhorns picked up their first region victory Tuesday with a 71-70 win.

"I'm proud of the team for closing out the victory," Lambert head coach Scott Bracco said. "We didn't play our best defensively in the fourth quarter. We've got to get better on the defensive end for sure."

In fact, Lambert was outscored 17-9 in the fourth quarter, allowing Central to erase a 13-point deficit and even grab a 70-69 lead late in the fourth quarter.

Junior Jake Craft connected on two of his four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the latter briefly tied the game 69-69 with just over a minute left. 

Needing a score to keep pace, senior Kaleb Scott found Craft in the wing, then Craft ran toward the key, pulled up and nailed the 3-pointer to bring Central's bench to its feet.

But, after the two teams traded possessions and a Central foul, Granger walked to the free-throw line, quietly hit his ninth and 10th free throws of the night, then guarded Scott on the potential game-winning play to make sure Lambert didn't surrender its lead.

The Longhorns didn't, as the in-bounds pass went from senior Brandon Sherer to Scott, who took a few steps, tried his luck with a jumper near the high post, which clanged off the iron and into Granger's arms.

Dylan Carter
Forsyth Central junior Dylan Carter, left, tries to get around Lambert senior Wilson Logan during Tuesday's 71-70 loss to the Longhorns. - photo by David Roberts
"They've been the team to beat in Forsyth County. To be down (13) and not give up, I thought that showed a lot of character for our team," Forsyth Central head coach Brandon Hutchins said. "Good things will come. We've just got to keep at it and keep getting better."

Granger finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, while senior Braxton Beaty had 14 points and seven rebounds, and senior Luke Champion chipped in 10 points — including three 3-pointers — and seven rebounds.

"I was definitely pleased the way we played offensively," Bracco said. "I thought we moved the ball around, I thought we pushed it in transition and I thought Central did a good job defensively. We were lucky enough to close out the game."

Central (7-11, 0-3 Region 5-7A) connected on 11 3-pointers, with Craft and junior Dylan Carter accounting for seven.

Craft led the Bulldogs with 18 points.

Jackson Greene
Lambert junior Jackson Greene, center, goes for a layup Tuesday during the Longhorns' 71-70 win against Forsyth Central. - photo by David Roberts
"I think we just need to be more disciplined on the defensive end, and we're working on that every day," Bracco said. "Just a little bit more consistent on the offensive end as well."

Lambert (11-7, 1-2 Region 5-7A) has now won five of its past six games after starting the season with a grueling non-region schedule. 

The Longhorns will look to keep their streak alive at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host North Forsyth. Central, meanwhile, will try against to get its first region win at 7:30 p.m. Friday at South Forsyth.