By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
South Forsyth junior guard Thomas Stocks had never started a game in his high school career.
So when War Eagles head coach Scott Givens told him he would be a part of the starting five in Tuesday’s 64-58 win over West Forsyth, he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I was a little nervous,” Stocks said. “Once I got in there and get the flow of the game, my confidence built and my teammates supporting me.”
Stocks scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in his first start since eighth grade. He helped play a role in the War Eagles going 14-of-17 from the free throw line, knocking down all four of his shots from the stripe.
Givens admitted he should’ve been starting Stocks a lot sooner than Tuesday night.
“We’ve been looking for that fifth guy and I think we might’ve found him,” Givens said of Stocks. “He gave us an unbelievable boost. He’s one of those kids who outworks people. I’m proud of him.”
The War Eagles (9-9, 2-1 Region 5-7A) held only took four shots from the field in the final period. The basket by Stocks and a bucket on the next possession by Devin McGlockton to lead 52-46 with 4:39 remaining in the game. The rest came from the charity stripe.
South Forsyth finished the game shooting 73% percent from the line (22-for-30).
Wolverine head coach Fredrick Hurt called his defense “disappointing.”
“Our energy level, focus was down,” Hurt said. “We’re in our half-court trap and we can’t trap because we’d foul before we get a chance to trap. We just kept putting them on the line.”
West Forsyth (6-10, 2-1) came out in the opening period hitting 8-of-12 shots to take a 19-15 lead after one quarter. South Forsyth would get hot, hitting four out of six three-point baskets just before halftime. The War Eagles took the lead for good on a triple by Corey Hereford.
South’s McGlockton led the way with 17 points. Nate Hammond scored 10 of his 11 points in the second half. He was 8-of-10 from the stipe.
“This team is getting better,” Givens said. “We’ve had to go through a little bit of adversity here lately, and I’m so proud of our young kids. This was a really big win.”
As for Stocks, he said he will be ready if he’s called upon to be in the starting five.
“All I can do is be prepared to help my team,” Stocks said. “A win like this on the road, against a region opponent can only build our confidence.”
West Forsyth sophomore Broc Bidwell paced the Wolverines with 17 points. Senior Payton Aiken had 13 points while Nick Zabetakis contributed with 11 points.
The Wolverines head to Milton on Friday night while the War Eagles travel to Forsyth Central.
West girls 51, South 33
West Forsyth freshman Cayla Cowart scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the first half as the Wolverines got their first region win of the season, a 51-33 win over South on Tuesday night.
The Wolverines (9-7, 1-2) built a 29-13 halftime lead. South Forsyth would create some offensive opportunities, forcing turnovers, and the War Eagles closed the lead to ten points midway through the third quarter before West put the game away to lead 45-25 after three quarters.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively in the first and set the tone,” West head coach David May said. “Something we’ve talked about is consistent defensive effort, and I thought we did a better job of that tonight.”
Ryane Williams scored a team-high ten points for South (7-9, 1-2). Senior Sara Stiers had seven points.
“We missed a lot of layups, but (West) played very well,” War Eagles head coach Keith Gravitt said. “Our misses probably had a lot to do with their defense.”
Katie Thrower complimented Cowart with 12 points while Maggie Quincy scored ten points. West travels to Milton while South hits the road to Forsyth Central on Friday.