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Paglia: County's girls basketball could be even better in 2014-15
Mug BPaglia web

Let’s forget about how the seasons came to an end.

West Forsyth girls lost 67-35, North Forsyth lost 57-39 and South Forsyth lost 64-27, games in which the end became a formality.

Let’s remember instead where the seasons came to an end.

West lost to Archer in the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAAA tournament, just the program’s second state playoff appearance ever.

North lost to Archer in the Elite 8 of the state tournament, a feat no Lady Raiders team had accomplished since the school opened in 1994.

South lost to McEachern in the Final Four, a milestone that had not been reached by a Forsyth girls’ basketball program in the GHSA since 1970.

Let’s savor that confluence of achievement for just a moment.

The buzz that built over the course of this past girls basketball season was arguably unlike any other the county has seen before. Crowds – at North and South during the state tournament in particular – were loud and cohesive and rowdy. Games all season seemed to hold more at stake. Performances were magnified. Moments – remember that 18-foot game-winning hook shot by North’s Lochlian Corliss? – were indelible.

OK, you’ve savored enough – because next season could be even better.

Sure, there will be the usual attrition of high school rosters all over the county. South will have to replace veteran starting center Ashley Hannan. North will have to replace emotional leader and center Avery Scarbrough and sharp-shooter Kendall Bennett. West will have to replace experienced point guard Maddie O’Connor and others. Forsyth Central will have to replace eight seniors, Lambert three and Pinecrest Academy two.

But the amount of talent expected to return to the county next season is almost astounding.

South will have four starters, including sophomore standout Sarah Myers, and its top three reserves back from its Final Four team. North will have three starters, including standouts Caroline Bowns and Corliss, and its top two reserves back from its Elite 8 team. West will have four starters, including reigning Region 6-AAAAAA player of the year Jenna Staiti, and its top four reserves back from its state tournament team. By the end of the season, Lambert’s entire starting five had no seniors.

All of which means Forsyth County teams won’t fly under the radar again next season. The state rankings will begin with North and South already included and maybe West close by. How soon Lambert’s young talent grows up will not be a question of if but when. Central will retool but know that freshman point guard Caroline Hearn and sophomore forward Julie Richards will lead the way.

This season was remarkable, but the fun could just be starting for Forsyth girls hoops.

Brian Paglia is sports editor at the Forsyth County News. He can be reached at 770-205-8982, or on Twitter at