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Basketball: No. 2 North Forsyth tops No. 5 South Forsyth in top-five clash
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North Forsyth's Meredith Franklin puts up a 3-point shot Friday during the Raiders' 62-46 win against South Forsyth. - photo by David Roberts

Leah Hall set a goal before the season to become North Forsyth's all-time leader in charges taken. 

She needed only a few minutes Friday to inch one step closer.

Hall drew a charge against South Forsyth junior Maggie Thompson in the early stages of the first quarter, then immediately sank her first of four 3-pointers on the following possession, helping No. 2 North set the tone in a 62-46 victory against No. 5 South.

Hall scored all of her points off of four 3-pointers, including two in the fourth quarter.

"When we were warming up, I felt like I was on," Hall said. "Then when Anna [Gliatta] got four fouls, I knew I had to step up for the team and try to contribute. I'm usually more of a defensive player, and she's offensive and she gets all of our points, so I just thought about it and was like, 'I have to shoot it.'"

Hall shined on defense too, and along with Meredith Franklin, helped limit South shooting guard Sharon Tolliver to just eight points -- all in the first half. 

"Our main focus is defense. We play good defense and I feel like we'll have ourselves in the game," North head coach Brad Kudlas said. "The girls came out and played huge defense. Meredith and Leah played great defense on Sharon, and she's a heckuva player. They locked her up. When she got open, she knocked them down, but that was the key to keeping her off-kilter, I guess, was getting her to work hard for it."

Ava McGlockton gave South its only lead with the game's opening bucket, but Gliatta buried her first attempt of the contest, scoring from beyond the arc to represent the final lead change.

Gliatta led all scorers with 16 points.

Hall's first trey made it 6-2, but Tolliver answered right back with a 3-pointer of her own. 

Gliatta picked Thompson's pocket seconds later, coming away with a steal and a quick basket, then she corralled a loose rebound on the following possession and took it the length of the court to give North a five-point lead.

Kamryn Gardner added another 3-pointer before Clara Morris' layup right before the buzzer cut North's lead to 19-12 at the end of the first quarter.

South ran into foul trouble early in the second quarter with forward Jadyn Kniceley picking up her third foul fewer than 90 seconds into the quarter, then drawing her fourth foul with 4:26 until halftime.

North maintained its lead through the end of the first half, then exited the locker room with a renewed focus on rebounding the ball.

The Raiders outrebounded South 10-5 in the third quarter, with Erin Whalen accounting for half of North's boards. Whalen also had four points in the quarter, including a tough layup with an arm in her face to make it 42-32 with 1:54 left in the quarter.

"Erin goes in there and grabs them all the time," Kudlas said. "I really challenged them at half. They were killing us on the boards, and one of our keys was we've got to try to be plus on the rebounds. I thought they did a great job with Erin grabbing boards, Maddie [Erickson] starting to box out more, and Leah had a big board there in the fourth that kind of gave us more time. Those are huge. It's the little things. Those are the things that turn into great plays."

Jones' third 3-pointer of the night extended North's lead to 52-37, but South peeled off a 9-0 run fueled by Morris' 3-pointer and capped by Leah Bagwell's bucket, triggering a North timeout. 

However, North recalibrated and closed the game on a 9-0 run that featured Hall's fourth 3-pointer and a pair of made free throws by Gliatta.

"We really needed a win here because we play really well at home," Gliatta said. "Sometimes it's been harder playing away, so we're still working on that. So, this was a really big win for us."

North is 9-0 at home this season.

The Raiders [15-3, 6-0 Region 6-7A] will look to win their fifth straight game at 2 p.m. Monday at home against Trinity Christian, while South [15-4, 5-1 Region 6-7A] is back in action at 6 p.m. Tuesday at home against Lambert.