It took two overtime periods for Duluth’s girls to finally stamp out North Forsyth’s comeback bid.
A pair of 3-pointers by Kendall Bennett in the closing seconds of regulation rallied North and tied the game, but the Lady Raiders missed an opportunity to win in the first overtime period and Duluth pulled out a 69-65 victory in double OT on Tuesday at the Roswell Infiniti Classic at Raider Arena.
Foul problems plagued both teams, as four of North’s starters fouled out — including two in regulation — while sending Duluth to the free throw line for 42 attempts.
"Two of our goals were to out-rebound them and not let them in the bonus in either half and we didn’t do those," North head coach Eric Herrick said.
"Tonight was definitely a learning experience. We had Kendall Bennett step up and hit two huge 3s at the end of regulation just to give us an opportunity to win that basketball game."
Duluth (2-0) converted only 22 of its 42 free throw attempts (52 percent), which allowed the Lady Raiders to remain close all night with the help of their own foul shots. North (1-1) hit 24 of 34 attempts (71 percent) from the line.
The game appeared over with North trailing 51-45 with under 25 seconds to play and starters Caroline Bowns (13 points) and Avery Scarbrough already out of the game with five fouls apiece.
Instead, Bennett (8 points) knocked down her first 3 with 21 seconds remaining and North fouled to send Duluth’s Taylor Auzenne to the free throw line with 16.7 seconds on the clock.
Auzenne missed both attempts and Bennett hit another corner 3 with 7 seconds left to tie the game.
The Lady Raiders led 56-54 in the closing seconds of overtime thanks to a pair of free throws by Lochlain Corliss (team-high 20 points), but a baseline miss by Katie Powell (game-high 26 points) was rebounded by teammate Joi Jones (12 points), who put the ball in the basket to tie the game a couple seconds before the buzzer sounded.
"In the first overtime [they had] two offensive rebounds that were backbreakers," Herrick said. "One was right there at the buzzer; if we come down with the basketball the game is over."
North fell behind 67-63 in the second OT period before Corliss hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead back to two points with eight seconds remaining.
"I thought Lochlain Corliss competed [hard] all night, just relentless going to the basket and making plays," Herrick said. "When we needed a bucket, she was the kid we went to."
The Lady Raiders were forced to foul, and Powell hit both free throws to put the game away. Powell, Duluth’s 6-foot-3 junior center, posed problems for North all night.
"You’ve got to account for that kid on every possession," Herrick said. "We were non-existent on our help side defense tonight and it hurt us. [Powell] got some easy looks.
"We need to really work on that in practice the next couple of weeks and get better at that because we’re going to run into big kids like that."
Starr’s Mill (boys) 49, North Forsyth 35
North Forsyth’s boys team fell to 0-2 with a loss to Starr’s Mill (1-2) in the second round of the Roswell Infiniti Classic on Tuesday at Raider Arena.
The Panthers scored all but five of their points in the paint or at the free throw line.
Caleb Knost and Brandon Rapson each scored nine points for the Raiders, while Will Anda and Jeremiah Vizdry led Starr’s Mill with 11 points apiece.
After trailing 42-21 early in the fourth quarter, the Raiders cut their deficit to 44-34 on a 3-pointer by Wade Allen with 2:35 remaining in the game but could not get any closer.
"We don’t guard very good, we don’t take care of the basketball and we don’t shoot it very good," North head coach Brian Moon said.
"That’s a recipe for disaster and that’s where we are right now. ... We can guard people better and that’s where we’re going to have to make our living."