Eric Herrick thought his North Forsyth girls got outworked in their narrow loss at South Forsyth last month.
With a No. 1 seed in next week’s region tournament in the balance Friday night, North’s coaches harped on fighting for loose balls and offensive rebounds in practice this week, reminding the Lady Raiders of what got them beat in January.
They got their message across, loud and clear. North outrebounded South, 32-22, and made 11 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter to secure a 55-49 win over the Lady War Eagles at Raider Arena on Friday.
“I think we got our point across and we came out extremely motivated to win those battles,” Herrick said. “Tonight was a huge confidence boost for our kids, to know we needed to come in here and win and then perform the way we did. It’s got to bode well for us in the next few weeks.”
Caroline Bowns led North with 15 points, and Lochlain Corliss added 14. The two senior guards, playing their last regular season game in Coal Mountain, combined for 11 of North’s 13 fourth quarter points.
“We put the ball in Caroline’s and Lochlain’s hands,” Herrick said. “They’re the two best players to ever come through North Forsyth High School, and in crucial situations, they get it done.”
Senior forward Okwunne Ogbogu scored six points and grabbed 13 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
South’s Sarah Myers scored a game-high 20 and pulled down eight rebounds. Ally Welch (13 points) kept South afloat in the first half—the Lady War Eagles trailed by six at the break, but it could’ve been worse.
KK Storms scored seven straight to open the fourth quarter and draw South within four, but the junior point guard fouled out with 4:15 remaining. South, without one of their best ball-handlers down the stretch, frittered away several chances to draw even closer with turnovers.
North led by as many as 13 in the third quarter, but a 10-1 South run quickly shrunk that margin. Every time South tried to get any closer, though, Bowns and Corliss were on hand to stop the bleeding.
“Our kids have been there, done that,” Herrick said. “We maybe got shook a little bit, had some empty possessions and missed some layups there late on. But, we got a couple stops and hit free throws down the stretch, which was huge.”
North and South each finished 16-2 in Region 6-AAAAAA play, but South won a coin flip after Friday’s game and will be the top seed next week. Chattahoochee High School is the host of this year’s region tournament.
North plays next Tuesday at 7 p.m. against either Alpharetta or Johns Creek. South plays Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. against either Habersham Central or Northview.
Bowns and Corliss picked up career win No. 95 on Friday.
“It’d be nice to get to 100,” Herrick said. “We’ve won six or seven in a row now, and I think the region tournament is going to be very interesting. Who can stop Jenna Staiti? Thinking about that gives me nightmares.”
North Forsyth girls 55, South Forsyth 49
South Forsyth 10 14 10 15_49
North Forsyth 13 17 12 13_55
South Forsyth: Myers 20; Welch 13; Storms 10; Threlkeld 4; Diem 2.
North Forsyth: Bowns 15; Corliss 14; Pefanis 10; Ogbogu 6; Grindle 5; Jones 3; Ware 2.