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Basketball: North girls bring the press in blowout win over West
North Forsyth's Caroline Martin drives to the hoop during the Raiders' game against West Forsyth on Jan. 12, 2018 at North Forsyth High School. - photo by Ben Hendren

By MacKenzie Bates

For the Forsyth County News

North Forsyth girls basketball coach Eric Herrick is a fan of West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins. He likes Huggins’ full-court defensive pressure with his Raiders.

“Press Virginia” turned in to “Press Forsyth” as North forced 18 of West Forsyth’s 32 turnovers in the first half to earn a 78-24 victory Friday night.

“I like to see our kids playing hard and flying around making plays,” Herrick said.  “They got extremely physical and getting on loose balls. I like that style of basketball, and that’s what we did tonight.

“When you play us, you know we’re going to come after you and pick you up full court most of the time.”

That’s what the Raiders (16-2) did from the tipoff. A steal by Cassie Markle led to a 3-point basket. Another full court trap forced a Wolverine turnover and a Caroline Martin triple. Martin forced an additional miscue for a layup. That capped a 9-0 run to start the game

“Very intense, it’s all about effort,” Markle said about defensive drills in practice that gets North ready for games. “Our team’s effort from the beginning until the last minute was phenomenal.”

Martin led all scorers with 17 points while Markle chipped in with 14. Kate Ware scored 11 points.

“We shared the ball tonight, and pushing it up the court in transition makes it a lot easier to get shots off, and that was a big part of our game plan,” Martin said.

West (3-14) coach David May admitted there was not a lot to be positive about after the loss, but he gave plenty of credit to North’s defensive performance.

“They apply pressure all over the place,” May said.  “Running, jumping and trapping.  They’re really good at what they do. X’s and O’s can’t do anything for us against a team like that. We have to compete on an individual basis. We didn’t compete for loose balls, rebounds. Our intensity level needs to increase to play with a team like North.”

Wolverines freshman Hayley Dornan had a team-high 9 points.

West boys 68, North 55

West Forsyth senior Terrence Taylor scored 22 points and Michael Zabetakis added 10 of his 15 points in the second half as the Wolverines defeated North’s boys 68-55.

Sophomore Joseph Staiti chipped in with 12 points. Coach Frederick Hurt said his length allowed opportunities for his team to get ahead early.

West Forsyth's Payton Aiken attempts a layup during the Wolverines' game against North Forsyth on Jan. 12, 2018 at North Forsyth High School. - photo by Ben Hendren
“We’ve got many guys that can score the basketball,” Hurt said. “Sometimes they get caught up who’s going to score on any night but I like that we have a lot guys that can put the ball in the basket …We’ve got some length and we try to use that defensively that in turn creates opportunities for us on offense.”

West (8-9) built a 33-24 lead at halftime, but North's Braden Collins hit back-to-back 3-point baskets to bring the Raiders within eight at 42-34. They wouldn’t get any closer.

“Our kids played hard for the most part, but their size bothered us,” Raiders coach Brian Moon said.  “We’re going to try and keep plugging away and hopefully something good happens with this group by the end of the year.”

Collins had 17. North's Jonathan Pefanis led all scorers with 23 points.