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Basketball: North dominates Roswell to reach Elite 8
Ali Jones
North Forsyth junior Ali Jones attempts a 3-point shot Friday. Photo courtesy Lily McGregor Photography

By Caleb Byrd

For the Forsyth County News

North Forsyth’s girls basketball team dominated the Roswell Hornets 62-41 in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight.

Outside the Raiders’ locker room hangs a purple banner with each playoff round listed next to a big check box. The first was checked Tuesday against Duluth, the Sweet 16 checked Friday night, and head coach Brad Kudlas is confident the Elite Eight will be checked next.

“We’re looking to get another check mark there,” Kudlas said, pointing at the banner. “We’ve got a home game, so it’s gonna be exciting. I love our crowd. The Coal Mountain community is just amazing. They carry us; they’re like a sixth man out there. So we’re gonna get ready and start grinding back at it.”

The Raiders showed out on defense in the first half, holding the Hornets to just 18 points. Roswell senior Makala Torrence came into Friday night's game averaging 20.8 points per game, but the Raiders held Torrence to just two points in the first half.

“I was really proud of the defense,” Kudlas said. “To hold a great player like [Torrence] to two points in the first half, I mean we were just rolling.”

The Raiders' offense spread the ball around generously in the first half, with five different players scoring more than once through two quarters: Ali Jones, Maddie Erickson, Haelim Adle, Anna Gliatta, and Ella Holbrook.

The Raiders coasted comfortably into halftime, leading Roswell 28-18 while outrebounding the Hornets the entire way.

Aggressive rebounding, smooth ball movement and sharpshooting defined the game for the Raiders.

The Raiders outrebounded the Hornets 15-5 in the second half, securing many crucial offensive rebounds that led to points in the paint. Overall, the Raiders secured 26 rebounds.

Anna Gliatta dominated the backboards the entire game with 10 rebounds.

In fact, Gliatta amassed more rebounds herself than the entire Roswell team in the second half.

“Anna gets after it,” Kudlas said. “When she hit that 3 right there at the beginning of the game, I knew she was gonna be on. She’s a fighter, man. When we get three in double figures we usually win, and tonight we had four in double figures.”

Those four were Ali Jones, Maddie Erickson, Ella Holbrook, and Gliatta.

Jones scored 13 points, shooting 36% from the field with one assist. Erickson scored 13 points, shooting 63% from the field, adding three free throws, five rebounds and one assist.

Holbrook scored 15 points, shooting 80% from the field. Holbrook was perfect behind the free-throw line, knocking down all four attempts, and nearly perfect from behind the 3-point line, making 3 of 4 attempts.

Gliatta scored 10 points, shooting 80% from the field. Her most impressive shot came in the form of a quick-shot buzzer-beater after an offensive rebound to end the first half.

“I’m just so proud of the girls,” Kudlas said. “We really woke up offensively tonight and took care of business. We ran our assignments, knocked down shots, and had big-time play from the whole team. It was a fun game. To be doing this with five juniors and eight sophomores is pretty impressive. They’ve grown up so much over this season and to see them get rewarded for all the hard work they’ve put in is really, really exciting.”

Haelim Adle led the team with seven assists, secured three rebounds, and had one steal. Adle provided seven points, shooting 44% from the field.

Erin Whalen had six overall rebounds, provided two points, one assist, and stole the ball once. Meredith Franklin provided two points, two steals, and one assist. Leah Hall stole the ball twice, had one rebound and one assist. Franklin and Hall together effectively shut down Roswell’s Torrence on defense.