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Basketball: No. 7 South Forsyth tops No. 9 West Forsyth in top-10 clash
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South Forsyth junior Sharon Tolliver puts up a shot Tuesday during the War Eagles' 59-51 win against West Forsyth. - photo by David Roberts

No. 7 South Forsyth showed off its depth Tuesday in a 59-51 win over No. 9 West Forsyth, marking the first top-10 girls basketball matchup of the season.

Dynamic junior Ava McGlockton exploded for seven points, three rebounds and two blocks in the opening quarter, but soon after picking up her third foul shortly after halftime, South head coach Keith Gravitt elected to rest his forward to keep her fresh for the fourth quarter.

The War Eagles shifted to a guard-heavy attack and began to pull away. Clara Morris started the onslaught with a 3-pointer, then Sharon Tolliver and Olivia Brabazon hit back-to-back threes, and a Jadyn Kniceley layup made it 46-34 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.

When Maggie Thompson sank two free throws at the end of the quarter, it signaled the end of a 14-0 run by the War Eagles.

"I think it was the fact that we went for the majority of that five guards," Gravitt said. "Allie Meyer gave us some good minutes, but when we went with those five guards out there, we had multiple people that could put the ball up. We also had a couple who could get to the paint. I just think we had five people on the court that had to be defended still. Even though she wasn't out there, we had five people who needed to be defended."

Meanwhile, South's defense held West to just 10 third-quarter points — all by Cayla Cowart. South managed to hold Calie Thrower to just five second-half points after West's talented shooter accounted for 10 points before halftime.

West's best chance to pull even came early in the fourth quarter, when Cowart scored two straight layups — including an impressive spinning effort to reach the rim — to make it 48-38 with 6:12 remaining. But McGlockton entered the game shortly after and fed Kniceley on a two-on-one breakaway, then Kniceley's layup made it a nine-point lead with 4:13 left in the game.

"She's playing the four, but she can stretch out there and put it on the floor," Gravitt said. "She defends more like a three or a two, probably. She's long and gets her hands on a lot of basketballs and deflections. She got a couple of big steals during that run right there. She was in the right place defensively and had her hands up."

After a three-point play by the Wolverines, McGlockton hit a jumper that beat the shot clock and served as the dagger, putting the War Eagles back up by nine points with just 1:38 left.

"I felt like we didn't do a good job on the boards, especially in the first half," Gravitt said. "Part of that was because of how hard they were going to the boards. We weren't doing a good job. What stuck out to me was that last quarter. Our girls just wanted it so bad, and I know they did too. They're a very good ball team with some great ballplayers on that team"

Tolliver led the War Eagles with 19 points, while McGlockton added 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Maggie Thompson stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks, and Kniceley had six points and six rebounds. Morris finished with three points and led South in rebounds [8] and steals [4].

Cowart scored 19 points to lead the Wolverines, while Thrower had 15 and Lillian Seitz scored nine points.

South [6-1, 2-0 Region 6-7A] will host Forsyth Central at 6 p.m. Friday, while West [6-1, 1-1 Region 6-7A] will host undefeated North Forsyth at 6 p.m. Friday.