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Basketball: Riverwatch boys crowned Forsyth County 7th-grade champions
Riverwatch Middle poses with the playoff bracket after winning the Forsyth County 7th-grade boys basketball championship Saturday at North Forsyth High. (Photo submitted)

This year, the Riverwatch boys basketball team achieved its season goal, which was to become the county champions of the seventh grade in Forsyth County, by defeating Hendricks, 37-32, in the tournament championship game Saturday at North Forsyth High.

“Everyone stayed together,” Riverwatch head coach Christopher Casey said. "You talk about how hard the playoffs are gonna be and how every game gets harder. Especially in the playoffs, every game is harder than the next, and they stayed in there. I was very happy about that."

In the Panthers' huddle, energy and intensity were the clearest signs of their success.

“When we were getting down, it was energy," Casey said of what made the difference. "When we were doing good, we don’t want to lose focus. It was always intensity.”

There wasn't too much positive to report about the Panthers' start to the championship, as they fell to an 8-0 deficit in the first quarter. The first half ended with Riverwatch trailing 18-10.

“We didn’t play Riverwatch basketball to come out with," Casey said of the first-half struggles. "I think they were nervous. We were in a big stadium to start with and some of these kids never played in a stadium that big. Most that played travel never saw a crowd like that. It was packed and loud.”

In the locker room huddle at halftime, Casey talked about if they wanted to win or not and how the next three minutes of the third quarter were going to determine the outcome of the game.

“I wanted to come out and prove that we have the heart to win,” Casey said.

It was Riverwatch which exploded out of the gate and scored 11 unanswered points out of halftime.

What made this season memorable for Casey was being with the team and growing with the team.

“We became truly a team in the end,” Casey said of this season. "We knew what everyone was doing at all times. If someone had to play another position, they knew how that position was supposed to be played, which was great to watch."