West Forsyth's girls basketball team entered Tuesday's game with six straight wins but without one of the top players in the county.
A top-five showdown between the surging Wolverines and region-leading North Forsyth lost a bit of its luster with Cayla Cowart on the bench in walking boot, allowing the Raiders to coast to a 58-40 victory.
"The hard part when a player like that goes out is, you prep and you kind of know what they do, but you really don't know what they're going to do without her," North head coach Brad Kudlas said. "So, that made it difficult. I wasn't sure what they were going to do and how they were going to attack us and things like that."
North jumped out to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter thanks to six points and three rebounds by Erin Whalen.
Meredith Franklin's 3-pointer erased an early one-point West lead and triggered a 14-0 run that extended into the second quarter, ending with a steal-and-score by Anna Gliatta and a 3-pointer by Leah Hall off a kickout by Haelim Adle.
Kamryn Gardner scored eight of her 11 points in the second quarter, first getting a floater to fall through the net, then knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, West managed just three field goals through the first two quarters and entered halftime with a 28-14 deficit.
Maddie Erickson patrolled the paint for North and challenged West's shooters at the rim, while Adle held Calie Thrower to just two points through three quarters.
"We had had Haelim on her. She was all about locking her down," Kudlas said. "She usually takes Cowart, and when Cowart went out, she was like, 'I want Thrower.' I gave it to her. She's turned into a really good defender for us."
Adle opened the third quarter with a no-look pass to Erickson, whose pass to Ali Jones in the wing led to a 3-pointer by Jones.
Katherine Bottoms drained a pair of free throws to snap a 9-0 North run, and she finished with 11 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.
West outscored the Raiders in the final quarter, 20-9, as Bottoms, Thrower and Audrey Anderson each knocked down a 3-pointer.
"I was frustrated in the fourth quarter," Kudlas said. "We gave up a lot in the fourth quarter. We held them to 20 points through three quarters, and in the first half they only had three buckets. We fouled them a lot, and they're great free-throw shooters, so that was tough."
North [17-3, 8-0 Region 6-7A] is undefeated in region play and has yet to lose to a team from Georgia this season.
"Those first three quarters, defensively, that was probably some of the best defense we played in quite a while," Kudlas said. "With the pace we're playing and to be able to play that defense, I was really proud of them."
The Raiders are back in action at 6 p.m. Friday at Forsyth Central, while West [17-5, 6-3 Region 6-7A] will look to rebound at 6 p.m Friday at home against Lambert.