Tuesday’s match-up between the North Forsyth Lady Raiders and the South Forsyth Lady War Eagles was a battle of the unbeaten, but North proved to be the superior team on this night, winning 72-35 to keep its record perfect.
North (9-0) was paced by junior guard Lochlain Corliss, who scored 24 points and chipped in five rebounds. Fellow junior Caroline Bowns scored 13 points and grabbed seven boards, and senior forward Avery Scarbrough had 10 points to go along with seven rebounds.
North built up some early momentum, out-scoring South (7-1) 26-8 in the opening eight minutes to create a lead that proved insurmountable. The Lady War Eagles battled back with a strong third, but the Lady Raiders would pull away for good in the fourth—netting 19 points in the final period of play.
“That’s about as good as I’ve seen us play in the three years I’ve been here,” said North head coach Eric Herrick. “We had a great run to start the game, a lot of transition baskets, and our kids defended their butts off.
“I’m just so proud of this team and couldn’t ask for anything more from them.”
Sarah Myers had 10 points for South, and Ally Welch added nine points and six rebounds for the Lady War Eagles. After winning seven straight, this loss will serve as a wake-up call for Keith Gravitt’s club, which will be faced with the unfamiliar task of bouncing back from a defeat when it returns to action on Friday.
The lopsided score from this game bears little meaning for the Lady Raiders, however, as they know South figures to dust itself off and prepare to compete harder next time around. The two teams will meet twice more in 2013, with the season series still up for grabs.
“They’re a good basketball team; they’ll be back,” Herrick said of South. “I told our kids, ‘This is the first of a three-game set with them.’ They have talented players and their kids work hard too. That team is better than how they played tonight, and this will do nothing but motivate them.”
The fact that both teams were undefeated heading into this contest added some significance to the game. North has paid close attention to South’s early season success, and the Lady Raiders’ ability to take down their talented rival bodes well for them moving forward.
“We knew someone was going to get that first loss tonight, and we knew it wasn’t going to be us,” said Corliss. “This is what we’ve been waiting for; it’s what we’ve been practicing for. We knew we had to shut down certain players to win, and that’s exactly what we did.”
North did an admirable job containing South’s best players, preventing Myers and Welch from scoring at their typically high clips—an achievement the Lady Raiders credit to their high-pressure, in-your-face defense.
“We were aggressive and didn’t let them touch the ball,” Corliss said. “And if their best players got the ball, play as tight D as possible.”
North dominated in large part because of its ability to drive to the hoop and score in the paint. The majority of the Lady Raiders’ baskets came from just a few feet out, and South’s inability to thwart this strategy led to such a crooked score. North may have strayed from its typical style by not taking many outside shots, but that adjustment only benefited them in the end.
“We’re really good in the paint, and that starts with Lochlain,” Herrick said. “We didn’t shoot as many 3s as we normally do, but that’s a credit to us taking what the defense gives us.”
Both teams will return to action on Friday. North will travel to Alpharetta, and South will head to West Forsyth.