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Basketball: North beats South, earns tournament's top seed

It was a great night to be a North Forsyth Lady Raider. 

After coming back from down 18-10 at the end of the first quarter, North mounted a comeback to hold off South Forsyth, 56-50, and tie West Forsyth for the Region 6-7A lead. 

And as the boys game unfolded, North head coach Brad Kudlas and West head coach David May met with Forsyth County athletic director Nathan Turner for a coin flip determining the top seed throughout the region tournament. 

North called heads and won the toss, earning the right to host their semifinal game. If victorious, the Raiders will host the region championship as well. 

The comeback against South started with a 23-4 run by the Raiders, which lasted the entire second quarter and into the first six minutes of the third quarter. 

“We had to make a couple of adjustments and calm our girls down a little,” Kudlas said. “We had to hit some shots and play some outside defense. They were playing a lot of zone defense, so we just needed to wait for our shots. We were rushing a lot in the first quarter."

As a team, North made seven 3-pointers and converted 16 points from the free-throw line. 

Anna Gliatta led with 17 points and was tied for the team high in assists with Haelim Adle. Both Gliatta and Adle had three assists, and Adle added 10 points of her own. 

Ali Jones scored 11 points and had five rebounds, as did Maddie Erickson. Erickson also blocked four South shots. 

South came out of the gate hot, with Sharon Tolliver scoring 10 points in the first quarter. 

However, North was able to change the pace of the game and slowed down the transition style of basketball that South head coach Keith Gravitt said his team likes to play. 

“We didn’t respond very well to the [physicality] of this game,” Gravitt said. “As a coach, I take a lot of responsibility in that. We can improve as a team that handles physicality better than that.” 

South refused to give up despite being down 16 points at the end of the third quarter. 

A 10-2 run brought the game back to within eight points. Following a time out, Anna McGlockton stole the North inbound pass and assisted Clara Morris for a wide-open 3-pointer, bringing the score to 51-46. 

The clock became South’s biggest enemy and the War Eagles had to start fouling. 

Tolliver scored a game-high 23 points, while McGlockton brought in 12 rebounds and blocked two shots. 

Maggie Thompson was all over the court, stealing the ball seven times in the game. She added 10 points, five rebounds and five assists for the War Eagles. 

“[Thompson] always fills up the stat line, and that’s because she’s a hustler,” Gravitt said. “A very determined player and is all over the floor. She’s an integral part of our team.” 

South (19-5, 8-4 Region 6-7A) finishes the regular season as the No. 3 seed ahead of the region tournament. South's next game will be at South Forsyth High School on Saturday, Feb. 13 against the winner of Gainesville and Lambert.

South is 4-0 against both teams this season. 

“That first quarter is where we want to be every game,” Gravitt said. “Our finish was great, too. We’re gonna have to have that, because every game means so much from here on out. Saturday we just need to come after it.” 

As the No. 1 seed in the region tournament, the Raiders (19-4, 11-1 Region 6-7A) will not play again until their semifinal game Feb. 15. 

North will host the winner of Denmark and Forsyth Central for a chance to compete for a region title. 

“Perfect basketball would be us playing really physical with a lot of grit,” Kudlas said. “Defense first and then making sure we finish. In the fourth quarter, we have to finish. Biggest thing is to have fun. It’s amazing the things you could do when you’re just having fun, and I think the girls are starting to figure that out.”