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Lander: Three keys to North Forsyth-South Forsyth girls hoops season finale
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Caroline Bowns (right) and North Forsyth host Sarah Myers (left) and South on Friday night. - photo by Micah Green

South Forsyth girls (21-3 overall, 16-1 Region 6-AAAAAA) at North Forsyth (21-3, 15-2)

When: Friday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.

Where: Raider Arena in Coal Mountain

Call it revenge, call it retribution, or call it just another regular season win, but South Forsyth’s 52-50 win over the North Forsyth girls on Jan. 6 was everything we had hoped for and more in a rematch of last season’s Region 6-AAAAAA title game.

Sarah Myers paced South with 29, including 20 in the second half. Caroline Bowns went shot-for-shot with Myers after halftime. The Campbell signee had 14 straight points for North during one stretch, and Lochlain Corliss (15 points) and Okwunne Ogbogu (10 points) did all they could. North had the ball last, but never got a shot off.

Friday night—one month later, to the day—South travels to Coal Mountain for the final game of the regular season.

What’s at stake?

South could have wrapped up the regular season region championship and a No. 1 seed in next week’s Region 6-AAAAAA tournament by beating West at home on Tuesday, but Jenna Staiti had other ideas.

The Lady War Eagles are 17-1 in region play, still one game ahead of North (16-2) entering Friday. If the Lady Raiders win, evening the season series at one apiece, a flip of a coin will be the tiebreaker.

Last year, North won the regular season title with a 13-1 record. South was second, at 11-3. North won the first meeting at Raider Arena, and South won at home six weeks later. Of course, there wasn’t this much at stake in the second regular season meeting last season.

South suffered its first region loss of 2014 on Tuesday against West, a team reeling from last Friday’s upset loss to Lambert. The Lady Wolverines bounced back—can South do the same?

Who can make plays down the stretch?

Sarah Myers took over late in last month’s contest. The Maryland commit hit a game-tying three-pointer near the third-quarter buzzer to turn the tide, gave South a lead with two free throws at the 2:03 mark of the fourth quarter, and sealed the Lady War Eagles’ win with a layup inside the final 20 seconds.

That was the difference for the South, whose next-leading scorer was Mari Jonassen, with six points.

Final scores can sometimes deceive, but South’s 52-50 win was as even as the two-point margin would indicate. North hit 17 two-point field goals to South’s 15; both teams made four three-pointers; North won the rebounding battle by two (29-27); South committed 14 turnovers to North’s 10. South, though, made 10 of 12 free throws, while North hit only four of nine.

Will it be Myers again carrying the Lady War Eagles down the stretch? Or, will Bowns, Corliss, and Ogbogu get it done in their final home game?

Emotions running high

Staying with that final home game theme, Friday is Senior Night for Bowns, the school’s all-time leading scorer, Corliss, Ogbogu, Alli Prater, Paige Kirby and Sydney Pefanis. Bowns and Corliss are both four-year starters who have combined to go 94-21 in their careers.

Raider Arena should be loud for a late, Friday evening tipoff (7 p.m., boys at 8:30). North coach Eric Herrick will be hoping the Lady Raiders can harness that energy and emotion of playing one final game and use it to get win No. 95 for Bowns and Corliss.

South, though, is battle-tested. The environment at South in January didn’t seem to bother North all that much. Will we be able to say the same for South on the return trip?