By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
SUWANEE — South Forsyth lost their Sweet 16 matchup at Collins Hill Friday night 78-48.
Despite trailing by only two at the half and leading for several minutes in the second quarter, the Eagles outscored South 45-17 in the second half.
“I think that they made shots,” South head coach Keith Gravitt said. “You use a game like this as motivation going forward. You want to play against the best and that’s what we got to do tonight.”
Some early miscommunication and a pair of misses had the War Eagles trailing 10-3 in the opening minutes.
South quickly settled in, however, drawing fouls and repeatedly catching the Eagles' defense napping on transitions, thanks largely to sophomores Sharon Tolliver and Ava McGlockton, who finished their first quarters with seven and six points, respectively.
McGlockton’s second fast-break layup of the quarter left South trailing 18-15 by the time the first buzzer sounded.
The War Eagles continued forcing the pace in the second quarter while gradually taking advantage of the increasing number of opportunities their hosts provided them.
Collins Hill missed eight of their 14 second-quarter shots and South began creeping closer to even in the rebound tally.
When her shot was blocked by a Collins Hill defender with just under four minutes remaining in the half, Tolliver responded with a sliding recovery of the basketball before pulling up and sinking a game-tying 3-pointer that set up South for its first lead of the night on the following possession.
South held onto it for just over two minutes, and wouldn’t have it again.
With just under seven seconds left in the half, the Eagles forced a turnover and fed the ball to Eden Sample, who promptly sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, reestablishing a lead that Collins Hill did not surrender.
The Eagles shooting found itself again throughout the final two quarters, while South’s became increasingly erratic as the lead widened. Collins Hill outscored South 25-6 in the third quarter and 20-11 in the fourth, eliminating the visiting War Eagles
“I love my team’s heart,” Gravitt said after the game.
The War Eagles played with undeniable grit and effort, but ultimately were unable to keep pace with Collins Hill’s potent offense, both in the paint and from outside.
After sinking only a pair of 3-pointers during the entire first half, including Sample’s buzzer beater, the Collins Hill added seven more in the second — five of those in the third quarter alone.
Tolliver notched South’s lone 3-pointer, finishing her night with 10 total points, while McGlockton led the team with 21.
“It’ll definitely be motivation,” Gravitt said on his team’s loss. “Our players will respond, because that’s the type of young ladies that they are. I’m very proud of them.”