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Basketball: North squads sweep Central
Lady Raiders post record-setting weekend; Raider boys rally past Bulldogs
North Forsyth guard Caroline Bowns is guarded by Forsyth Central’s Peyton Ledford on Saturday at the D.B. Carroll Complex. - photo by Autumn Vetter

It was a record-setting weekend for North Forsyth’s girls basketball team.

Less than 24 hours after establishing a new program mark for consecutive wins, the Lady Raiders ran their streak to 10 games and knocked down a single-game, school record 13 three-pointers in a 65-47 victory over Forsyth Central on Saturday at the D.B. Carroll Complex.

Senior guard Kim Blake, who became the program’s all-time leader in 3-pointers in December, knocked down five shots from beyond the arc on Saturday and finished with a game-high 17 points. Lochlain Corliss (11 points), Caroline Bowns and Avery Scarbrough (10) were also in double figures.

On Friday, North (17-2) defeated Johns Creek 72-41 for its record-breaking ninth consecutive win.

"For the girls, it’s very satisfying," North head coach Eric Herrick said. "They’re doing stuff that’s never been done before in the history of North Forsyth basketball. This is stuff that these kids are going to remember for the rest of their life."

North led Central 24-13 at halftime and broke the game open in the third quarter.

Held scoreless in the first half, Blake erupted for four 3-pointers in the third period, when the Lady Raiders outscored the Lady Bulldogs 25-9.

"It was [about] being a little more patient offensively," Herrick said. "The first [we’d make] one pass and took a shot or we drove it in and forced it.

"[In the third quarter] we forced them to play a little defense for 10 or 15 seconds and waited for a little breakdown to take a shot and I think we got wide-open shots. ... Honestly, for us, we’d rather take a three than any other shot."

Corliss hit North’s 13th and record-breaking 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. The Lady Raiders had previously knocked down 12 shots from beyond the arc on multiple occasions in team history.

"That’s a winning formula when [a team is] trading threes for twos like that," Central head coach Andy Martin said. "I’m very proud of my girls for the fight they have.

"North’s just hard to defend. When you shoot the ball like they do it makes the game so much easier because you can take chances on defense."

After missing more than three weeks with a concussion, Central (4-14) forward Emma Kane returned and led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points.

North hosts South Forsyth at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, while Central will face North Springs at the D.B. Carroll Complex.

North Forsyth (boys) 42, Forsyth Central 39 

Wade Allen’s free throws took almost identical bounces along the rim before ending up in the exact same place — the bottom of the net.

Allen’s foul shots with 36.7 seconds remaining forced Forsyth Central to look for a 3-pointer it was never able to find, as the Raiders rallied from an early 12-point deficit and edged the Bulldogs 42-39 on Saturday at the D.B. Carroll Complex.

Allen found himself in a similar situation eight days earlier, when he hit several free throws late in the game to help the Raiders rally from an early 10-point deficit and defeat West Forsyth. Central put him on the foul line with 36.7 seconds left, and though each of his ensuing shots took a couple of small bounces, he never doubted where they would end up.

"I got a good roll on both of them," Allen said. "They practically did the exact same [bounces], but I was confident they were going to go in."

"The West game, I admit I was a little bit nervous, but I knocked down ... five free throws in a row [in the fourth quarter] to help our team win. I like to be the leader on the team; I like to step up to the free throw line and make the plays to win the game."

It was a big weekend all around for North (10-9), which picked up its second region victory of the season in a 67-51 win over Johns Creek on Friday night. That game provided something of a progress report for the Raiders, who lost to the Gladiators by 20 points earlier in the season.

The Raiders have won seven of their last 10 games after starting the season 3-6, and are just two wins away from matching their win total from the past three seasons combined (12).

"We would have lost [this kind of game] last year," North coach Brian Moon said.

"We’re finding ways ways to win, we’re finding ways to come back when things aren’t perfect — that’s a team that’s growing."

Caleb Knost led North with 14 points, while Allen added 10. T.J. Custer scored a game-high 16 for Central (4-14) and Ryder Bowline added 13.

The Raiders trailed 20-8 early in the second quarter but rallied to take their first lead, 36-34, just over a minute into the fourth period.

The lead changed hands five times during the final seven minutes of the game, but guard Branson Marks made two key plays for the Raiders in the middle of the quarter.

Trailing 37-36, Marks drove inside and drew an extra defender before dumping the ball off to forward Brandon Rapson for an easy layup.

After Central regained a one-point lead on a basket by Bowline, Marks came up with a steal and a layup to put the Raiders back on top 40-39 with 3:05 left on the clock. The score remained the same until Allen hit his two free throws.

Central nearly cut the lead to one point on a layup attempt by Jeremiah Jones with 25 seconds remaining, but the ball rolled around and off the rim.

Central had another chance in the closing seconds but couldn’t get Custer or Bowline open for a 3-pointer. Jones was forced to attempt one himself as the final seconds ticked away, but the shot fell short and was rebounded by Marks, who dribbled up the court as the final two seconds ran out.

"Obviously they made the plays to win," Central head coach Greg Dirst said. "Coach Moon and his team gets all the credit.

"... I’m proud of my guys and the way they played, but [North] scored three more than we did."

The Bulldogs have lost nine games in a row. The Raiders went through similar struggles last season, dropping their final 15 contests, but have made clear strides this season.

"Last year ... it was tough," Allen said. "We just couldn’t grind out wins and we got down on ourselves, but this year a lot of the seniors, we’ve been playing together ... since fifth and sixth grade and ... we love playing together."

North hosts South Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, while Central will face North Springs at the D.B. Carroll Complex.