ALPHARETTA — A larger lineup helped North Forsyth create big problems for Lambert.
Junior center Avery Scarbrough scored a game-high 14 points and teammate Okwunne Ogbogu saw heavy minutes alongside her in the post, as the No. 2 seed Lady Raiders smothered No. 6 seed Lambert’s offense in a 47-25 victory in the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament semifinals on Friday at Alpharetta High School.
North (23-4) held Lambert (10-17) to nine points or less in each quarter.
"That game was won on the defensive end," Lady Raiders head coach Eric Herrick said. "When you give up that [few] points you’re not going to lose many basketball games."
Ogbogu, a sophomore post player, spent much of the season subbing in for Scarbrough when she needed a rest, but her role has grown in recent weeks.
She formed a strong post presence with Scarbrough on Friday and helped force the Lady Longhorns to score all 12 of their points in the second half on 3-pointers.
"We’re a much better pressing team with [Ogbogu] in the game ... and she’s been playing a lot lately," Herrick said. "She rebounds the ball and she defends her butt off. She’s been helping us a lot."
The Lady Raiders struggled to get their own offense rolling through much of the first quarter and trailed 5-2 until Ogbogu scored inside a little more than five minutes into the game. Kim Blake followed with a 3-pointer with 2:20 remaining in the period and North never relinquished the lead.
Scarbrough poured in nine points in the second quarter, lifting North to a 26-13 lead at halftime.
"Avery is just becoming a monster inside," Herrick said. "The kid is playing with some confidence now and she’s definitely playing to her strengths.
"She’s staying away from shooting a lot of mid-range jump shots and [is] playing a power game. ... She’s hard to stop when she’s taking it to the basket."
The Lady Raiders put the game away in the third quarter, when they outscored Lambert 11-3.
Caroline Bowns finished with 12 points for North, while Morgan Jackson led the Lady Longhorns with eight.
"They’re the best defensive team [in the region] by far and they really believe in what they do," Lambert head coach Seth Thompson said of North. "I’m proud of my girls for the way they competed. [North] got a couple of nice runs on us and with a team like that, you have to limit those runs."
The Lady Raiders’ victory extended the single season program win mark they set on Tuesday against West Forsyth and assures that they will open the Class 6A state tournament at Raider Arena.
"There’s an advantage to playing at home and it’s also important for our community," Herrick said. "Last year was the first time we hosted a playoff game. We know we’ll have a lot of fan support and it’s great for our community to come out and watch us and experience that with us."