North Forsyth overcame a first-quarter deficit Monday to win 55-44 over Denmark and advance to the Region 6-7A championship game.
Denmark's offense was on fire to start the game. The Danes led 17-15 at the end of the first quarter and trailed by only two points at halftime.
“North’s a great time and always done a great job of pressuring us defensively,” Denmark head coach Jaime Maxey said. “So our play was getting to the rim and getting to the line early. I think our girls did a good job of that. We had to change a couple things defensively, but first half we did a great job offensively.”
Sophie Smith was huge throughout the first half for Denmark, but sat on the bench on and off for the rest of the game in foul trouble. She led the Danes with 16 points.
However, North returned to the court on fire after halftime. The Raiders outscored Denmark 23-13 in the third quarter to pull away for the victory.
Defensively, North could not be stopped, stealing the ball nine times in the second half for a total of 12 steals.
“Our shots weren’t following from the outside, so I told them just to attack the rim,” North head coach Brad Kudlas. “Also, lock it down defensively. Deny their drives. We just needed to tweak some small things.”
Anna Gliatta began to take control of the game in the second half. She finished with a game-high 20 points and converted 6 of 8 attempts at the free throw line. She never stopped on defense, either. Her three steals were a game-high.
“[Gliatta] is a go-getter,” Kudlas said. “She’s got a speed that’s different than everybody else. Nothing really fazes her. She doesn’t let things get to her. She was letting her have the lane, so she brought it. She always brings it in the big games.”
Haelim Adle tallied a double-double for the Lady Raiders with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Ali Jones made two 3-pointers and had a game-high five assists. Maddie Erickson and Erin Whalen each blocked two shots individually.
The win for North guarantees that they will host at least one game in the Class 7A state tournament.
Kudlas said that aside from a tournament game North hosted during Thanksgiving break, the Raiders have not lost a game at home all season.
“We always get a good crowd that comes out and they really pick us up when we need it,” Kudlas said. “Nothing like playing at home.”
Denmark will play West Forsyth for third place on Wednesday. Denmark lost both matchups against West this regular season.
“We played West the other night and it definitely wasn’t our best,” Maxey said. “They did a good job of putting a full-court press on us. We have a lot of young kids playing and we need to be able to calm ourselves down, find some composure and move the ball.”
North will host the Region 6-7A championship immediately following the third-place game. The Raiders host South Forsyth, which won its semifinal game in dramatic fashion Monday night. North won both games against South this season; the first 45-24 and the second 56-50.
“We’re just gonna have to play solid,” Kudlas said. “They’re a great team and they’re gonna punch us hard. A lot to get ready for in a little bit of time.”