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Basketball: North rides stellar defense to 45-24 win against South
Erin Whalen
North Forsyth sophomore Erin Whalen lays the ball in Friday during the Raiders' 45-24 win against South Forsyth. - photo by David Roberts

Maddie Erickson has one more reason to celebrate this weekend.

Erickson, whose birthday is Sunday, scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds Friday to help North Forsyth past South Forsyth, 45-24.

The win also keeps North’s perfect region record intact and allows the Raiders to retain sole possession of first place.

“It was really important because this determined first place in the region,” Erickson said. “We made a statement tonight that is going to show everyone.”

Ali Jones scored a team-high 15 points, while Haelim Adle had eight points and Anna Gliatta chipped in six points.

North’s defense smothered South, holding the War Eagles to a season-low 24 points and well below their average of 55 points per game.

That defensive effort began in the paint with Erickson.

“She’s a workhorse,” North head coach Brad Kudlas said. “She does all the little things that you really don’t see and grabs so many boards. Defensively, she’s our floor general. She covers for people when they make mistakes or when they get caught up. For her to bring it offensively, she’s coming into the player we want her to be. When she’s bringing those kinds of points, it’s going to help us a lot.”

Erickson showcased her versatility in the second half when she scored on a layup, hustled back on defense in time to block Sharon Tolliver’s shot, then on the following possession, hit another layup and drew the foul.

Meanwhile, Jones caught fire in the second quarter, knocking down four 3-pointers and accounting for more than half of North’s 16 points in the frame.

Jones also had a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter, just before the buzzer.

“I’ve been quarantined the last game, so I had to miss it,” Jones said. “I was just glad to be able to come back and be with my team. I think that helped. I had to watch the game at home, and it did not feel right.”

Jones’ first 3-pointer cut into South’s early first-half lead. Her second came after she corralled her own rebound, took a few steps, set her feet and drained the shot to make it a one-point game.

North led 18-15 at halftime but outscored the War Eagles 19-4 in the third quarter to pull away.

Ava McGlockton also had a double-double, scoring 10 points and collecting 10 rebounds. Maggie Thompson had six points, while Tolliver had five points and Clara Morris scored three points.

The Raiders have now won 12 of their past 13 games and look to string together a region title run of their own.

“The last two years we’ve been just basically watching and learning from other people,” Jones said, “so it’s good to finally get out and make use with what we learned.”

North (13-2, 6-0 Region 6-7A) is back in action at 11:30 a.m. Monday against Rabun County at Dawson County High School, while South (15-3, 4-2 Region 6-7A) will travel to Lambert at 6 p.m. Tuesday.