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Halftime lead slips away for North boys in loss to Flowery Branch
FBNorthForsyth 3

Flowery Branch 66, North Forsyth 59

Flowery Branch  16   7  22  21_66
North Forsyth    14  16  12  17_59

Flowery Branch: Bourdage 30, Kriews 13, Garcia 8.

North Forsyth: Bureau 20, Holtzclaw 17, Cunningham 10, Holzer 7.

North Forsyth head coach Brian Moon leaned forward in his chair after the first quarter and asked Flowery Branch coach David Sokol if the Falcons were ever going to miss a shot.

Sokol laughed and yelled back that he had told his team not to.

Joking or not, Sokol’s team couldn’t miss. Flowery Branch guard Taylor Bourdage poured in eight of his team’s 15 3-pointers and 30 points overall as the Falcons took down hosts North Forsyth, 66-59, on Monday afternoon at the Causey Orthodontics Raider Classic.

“He can shoot the heck out of the ball,” Sokol said. “He came out in the third quarter and hit a few shots that really got us going.”

North Forsyth led, 30-23, at halftime after holding the Falcons to seven points in the second quarter and closing the half on a 9-0 run. Chad Bureau and Dakota Holtzclaw combined for 19 of the Raiders’ first 30.

It only took four minutes of the third quarter for Bourdage and senior Tyler Kriews to erase the Raiders’ lead. Bourdage hit three 3-pointers over that stretch and Kriews added seven points, and the Falcons got the defensive stops Sokol was looking for. Flowery Branch outscored North, 22-12, in the third quarter and held the Raiders to 1-of-6 shooting from deep.

Holtzclaw, a 6-foot-5 wing with several Division-I offers who transferred from Horizon Christian, scored 17 points, and Bureau finished with a team-high 20 for the Raiders. Sokol, a former North Forsyth assistant coach, said the two teams had played each other twice this summer and the Falcons were well-aware of what Holtzclaw could do.

“He’s going to get his points,” Sokol said. “Our kids did a good job of denying him the ball as much as they could, and tried to make him make difficult plays.”

Flowery Branch returned only three players this season with varsity experience in Bourdage, Kriews and Hunter Konuszewski. Both the Falcons and Raiders are working in new players. Bureau has been a pleasant surprise for North—the senior guard hit two 3s and went 6-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Flowery Branch outscored North 43-29 over the final 16 minutes.

“We didn’t guard very well,” Moon said. “We gave up 15 3s. That would’ve beaten a lot of teams today. You’d like to think you can win some games when you don’t shoot it very well but today that didn’t happen.”