North Forsyth head coach Eric Herrick was pleased with his team’s performance against Chattahoochee through three quarters. The fourth was a different story.
After leading 38-28 heading into the final period, the Lady Raiders survived a late comeback by Chattahoochee to preserve a 47-45 win Friday night at Raider Arena.
North Forsyth’s Avery Scarbrough and Chattahoochee’s Erin Morrow led all scorers with 16 points apiece, while Caroline Bowns and Kim Blake had 12 each for the Lady Raiders (12-2, 3-1 Region 6-AAAAAA).
The Lady Raiders’ victory allowed North to split Friday’s games with Chattahoochee, as the Raiders suffered a 66-45 loss later in the night.
"I thought we had three great quarters," Herrick said. "We played real well for the first three quarters and then just didn’t value the basketball in the fourth quarter."
North, which led the entire game, built and ultimately kept its lead with aggressive defense and rebounding, especially when it mattered most.
Leading 41-32, the Lady Raiders committed their sixth turnover of the fourth quarter, which Morrow converted into a transition basket to cut the gap to seven points.
Two possessions later, Morrow hit another basket. North, having issues with Chattahoochee’s full-court press turned the ball over on its next two possessions, the second coming from a jump ball with the possession arrow pointing in Chattahoochee’s favor. Though the Lady Cougars (8-4, 1-3) failed to score off the first turnover, Cassidy Gaillard followed the second with a 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining in the game to cut the North lead 41-39.
"We had long, looping passes, we didn’t really execute our [full court] press break like we should have, just a lot of carelessness with the basketball and they converted that into points," Herrick said. "It hurt us."
After Scarbrough fouled out, Bowns scored two baskets on back-to-back possessions, keeping North ahead 45-41 with 1:46 remaining.
Those baskets proved critical, as Chattahoochee’s Amari Carter hit a field goal with 20.5 seconds remaining to keep the Lady Cougars within reach.
With 14.1 seconds remaining in the game, North Forsyth’s Carlin Light was intentionally fouled and went to the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity. Light missed the free-throw and Chattahoochee grabbed the rebound before calling timeout.
The Lady Cougars had a chance to tie or take the lead, but instead failed to execute a clean inbound pass.
With the Lady Raiders pressuring on defense, the ball hit Carter in the hands and rolled out of bounds, sealing the win for North. The Lady Raiders forced a total of 18 turnovers on the night.
"You’re going to have off nights shooting, but you should never have an off night defensively," Herrick said. "There’s no special drill, no special technique, it boils down to effort."
North will travel to Lambert on Tuesday.
Chattahoochee (boys) 66, North Forsyth 45
Raiders head coach Brian Moon had a message for his team before their game against Chattahoochee.
"The first thing I put on our board before the game was that we are going to do a great job in transition defense, that was our highest priority," Moon said.
Despite the pre-game attention, the Raiders had a difficult time slowing the Cougars down in transition all night, resulting in a 66-45 loss Friday night at Raider Arena.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Raiders and leaves them still winless in the region (7-7, 0-4 Region 6-AAAAAA).
Chattahoochee’s Marcus Terry led all scorers with 21 points while Marcus Sheffield and Trey Archambeau chipped in with 17 and 15 points, respectively. North’s Brandon Rapson, the only Raider to score in double figures, finished with 14. Kyle Lance had nine points off the bench.
Chattahoochee (7-5, 3-1) jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead to open the game following back-to-back turnovers on the Raiders’ first two possessions. North took a momentary 13-12 lead after Branson Marks finished off an old-fashioned three-point play at the free throw line with 3:17 remaining in the first, but Terry immediately took the lead back, following his own missed shot with a rebound and a lay-in.
North went scoreless on its next seven possessions, including three turnovers, as Chattahoochee went on a 9-0 run to close the quarter.
"We just didn’t want to win bad enough, [and] that’s what happens," Moon said. "We had guys not getting back, not getting matched up, not stopping the ball."
North’s cold streak and turnover issues carried over into the second period, along with Chattahoochee’s quick transition game. Down 30-13, a Rapson free-throw with 4:34 remaining in the first half was North’s first point of the second quarter. Other than a Lance free throw with 2:36 remaining, Rapson was responsible for all of North’s points in the period.
Moon hoped that the lopsided defeat will motivate his players to step up down the stretch.
"[Our results are] not going to change here until the mentality changes," Moon said. "The basketball will just be below average until [the mentality] changes."
North will travel to Lambert on Tuesday.