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Basketball: Raiders fall to Chiefs in state playoffs
North Forsyth's Gabbie Gliatta battles against a pair of Sequoyah defenders during a Class 6A state Sweet 16 matchup Friday at home. (Photo by Nicholas Sullivan)

The third time wasn't the charm for the North Forsyth girls, as Sequoyah downed the Region 8-6A champion again Friday at Raider Arena.

After defeating North Forsyth twice by three points on neutral courts, including during a holiday tournament final in South Carolina, Sequoyah saved its best performance for the teams' most important meeting.

Facing off in a Class 6A Sweet 16 matchup, the Chiefs used a hot start to register a 59-46 win over the Raiders.

Sequoyah knocked down a pair of 3-pointers early in the first quarter en route to a quick 10-0 lead. The Chiefs only made six treys in the game — one fewer than the Raiders — but they came at key times, as the visitors also opened the third and fourth periods with their first two buckets coming from deep.

It took until the 2:14 mark of the opening stanza for North Forsyth to get on the board. Kamryn Gardner grabbed a long rebound, outraced the Sequoyah defense and laid the ball in to pull her team within 10-2.

Addison Peck scored inside the paint for the Raiders later in the period to complete their scoring in a rough first quarter.

Trailing 13-4 entering the second, North Forsyth finally saw a couple of long-range efforts find the bottom of the net. Emma Rose hit the team's first 3 of the game, and Peck followed with one of her own.

Even still, the Chiefs held a comfortable 25-14 lead at the break after limiting the Raiders' starters to just six points in the first half.

It took North Forsyth less than half of the third quarter to match its first-half scoring output. That 28th point came on London Weaver's second triple of the period, and the shot pulled the Raiders to within 34-28 — the closest the teams had been since before the hosts scored their first points.

Lindsey Pirkle matched Weaver with six points in the period, but the momentum was short-lived. Despite putting together its best offensive stretch, North Forsyth still trailed 41-32 heading to the fourth.

Even though Gardner buried a trio of 3s in the final period to round out her 13-point effort, the Raiders never got closer than nine points.

One of those instances was at 49-40. The Chiefs answered with a 5-0 run.

Another came at 55-46. Sequoyah responded by scoring the game's final four points.

With the win, the third-seeded Chiefs (19-11) will hit the road for the third straight game. Next up, Sequoyah will face Region 2-6A champion Brunswick.

Following four straight trips to at least the quarterfinals, North Forsyth (22-7) has now suffered back-to-back second-round exits. The Raiders have won region titles in each of those six seasons and will look to extend the streak to seven next winter.