North Forsyth’s long and frustrating quest for its first victory of 2013-14 came to an end Tuesday, as the Raiders took down South Forsyth 53-46 in a Region 6-AAAAAA game on the road.
Fittingly, the victory did not come easy for North (1-19, 1-8), who battled neck and neck with rival South all night long.
The War Eagles had a chance to come within one point or tie the game with 48.9 seconds remaining in regulation, but were called for a charge. With 33 seconds left, down 49-46, South (3-13, 2-6) had a one-and-one opportunity that was botched, allowing Raider point guard Chad Bureau to drive up the court, draw a foul and put the game out of reach with two free throws.
After dropping 19 straight contests, the Raiders found themselves overcome with happiness, excitement and, most of all, relief.
“We played a lot more patient tonight than we’ve been playing recently,” said North head coach Brian Moon. “You don’t want to get your first W in January, but it is what it is.”
Perhaps the biggest difference between this game and North’s first 19 was the Raiders’ ability to limit points against on turnovers. While they allowed a fair number of steals, they got back on defense and prevented South from taking advantage of their mistakes—a stark contrast from most of the year.
Bureau led the way for North with 19 points—12 of which came via free throws. The sophomore chipped in six rebounds as well.
Bureau’s prowess in the paint was one reason North overcame its severe lack of size and out-rebounded a big South team. The War Eagles had four regulars as big or bigger as the Raiders’ tallest player.
“They’re hard for us to play with our size,” said Moon. “It was a tough matchup but we pushed through it.”
The Raiders will enter uncharted territory on Friday as they look to earn back-to-back wins for the first time in 2013-14. That’ll be a tough task facing a 13-6 Alpharetta squad, but for once North has some momentum to carry them into the weekend.
“Winning is contagious,” Moon said. “We have to come in [on Wednesday] and Thursday and really work hard.”