By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
ALL-COUNTY GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Ansley Allen and Caroline Martin, North Forsyth

Caroline Martin’s response to the question illuminated what made the North Forsyth girls basketball team such a force in the 2018-19 season.

“I feel like we’re kind of the same,” Martin said, looking over to teammate Ansley Allen after being asked to compare the two junior guards.

It was that property, as opposed to a more typical team’s balance of speed and skill on the perimeter and height and power in the post, on which the Raiders thrived this past season. Playing a lineup composed entirely of guards, which they did regularly, allowed them to outrun almost every team, and the extra speed gave their full-court press extra bite.

And leading that unconventional strategy were Martin and Allen, the All-County Co-Players of the Year. The similarity of their production, with both averaging 14 points per game and taking over games in turn, makes it particularly difficult for one to overshadow the other.

Getting to know...

Ansley Allen

Favorite social media platform: Instagram

Favorite non-social media app: Spotify

Typical breakfast: Coffee

Main sport of choice, if not basketball: Softball

Favorite school subject: English

Go-to Netflix show: Gossip Girl

Even with the broad similarities in position, the Raiders did have more subtle distinctions in each player’s role, with Martin and Allen included. Martin is faster, more apt to run the point for North, and a better outside shooter, while Allen is stronger, more of a two-guard, and would lean towards scrapping for rebounds and points in the low post.

“You’re a lot stronger than me, so you can definitely post up if you have a small guard on you,” Martin said to Allen.

north forsyth caroline martin 121118
North Forsyth's Caroline Martin surveys the court during the Raiders' game against West Forsyth on Dec. 11, 2018 at North Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer
“And Caroline is definitely quicker,” Allen said in response. “There are moments where I feel like I’m going quick, but compared to Caroline, she’s flying by.”

Allen also made the bigger leap in production in 2018-19. Martin was already an established member of the Raiders’ rotation, the lone returning starter from their 2018 state semifinal team, while Allen was an important contributor but nonetheless one that typically came off the bench.

Getting to know...

Caroline Martin

Favorite social media platform: Twitter

Favorite non-social media app: Wordscapes

Typical breakfast: Sausage biscuit

Main sport of choice, if not basketball: Softball

Favorite school subject: History

Go-to Netflix show: One Tree Hill

North head coach Eric Herrick immediately challenged her to fill the scoring role vacated by the graduation of Catherine Shope, though, and Allen consistently showed that she could do that. Towards the end of the season, she also proved that she could play a role like Martin’s: When Martin went down with a sprained ankle in the region tournament and missed the final against Central, Allen rose to help make up for the lost production, scoring 26 points while taking on a greater role running the offense.

North Forsyth's Ansley Allen dribbles past Forsyth Central's Aisha Dabo during the Region 5-7A girls basketball tournament title game on Feb. 8, 2019 at North Forsyth High School. - photo by Ben Hendren
“It wasn’t that I had to do more than I was doing, but just be smarter about what I was doing,” Allen said. “Limit my turnovers, make sure I’m getting my teammates the ball when they’re open, because that’s really what Caroline did. She would score, but she would also make sure that the other people were open and that the shot that we got was the very best shot.”

The most recent Raiders team’s strength was in numbers in numbers and similarity, their two main scorers included. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t much different off the court.

“I’d definitely say we’re similar,” Martin said. “(We’re) all in the same group, and we’re together all the time.”