By McClain Baxley
For the Forsyth County News
South Forsyth shot 16 for 17 in the second half of its 20-point victory against Walton on Nov. 19. The two teams combined for 110 points in an offensive barrage that had a flow throughout.
In Friday night’s game, it was a different story. There was no pinpoint shooting. There was no 20-point difference. And the teams combined for 71 points, 48 of them coming in the second half.
Though it wasn't the efficient game they wanted, the War Eagles were able to complete the season sweep of the Raiders on Friday in a 41-30 offensive struggle that had no lack of fouls or turnovers.
“That had to be a hard one to watch for the fans, because it was a hard game to coach in,” South head coach Scott Givens said. “There was no rhythm, both teams struggled offensively, but we found a way to win.”
The home team started off with a 9-0 run in the first five minutes of the game. Junior Kohl Harris was orchestrating the offense, junior Devin McGlockton was finishing at the rim with six first-quarter points and Walton had no answers to South’s press and stingy defense.
At the end of the first quarter, the War Eagles held an 11-3 lead after the Raiders put up just two shots.
In the second quarter, Walton broke through some and drove to the basket to make it a one-possession game. It looked like South was going to be shut out in the second frame. Walton wanted the last shot of the half, but Luka Avalani took the shot too early and South came down with the rebound.
Senior Sabi Ramirez pushed the pace and cashed in a layup to give the War Eagles a 13-10 halftime advantage. Walton coach Bo Abney was noticeably frustrated that Avalani didn’t hold onto the ball for longer as he laid into his senior on the way to the locker room.
Walton took its first lead of the game with 3:31 to go in the third, up 15-13. Then sophomore Ethan Underwood locked in on offense. He made up for the deficit and continued to hit shots from the free-throw line into the fourth quarter.
Harris played well defensively in the second half, as the War Eagles faced not only the Raiders, but also the refs as Walton spent the entire fourth quarter in the bonus.
South was able to extend its lead after a Harris steal that led to a breakaway score, putting the game away.
“They’re good. They were 9-2 and we’re good, too; we were 9-3,” Givens said. “It was a weird game. Maybe it's because we didn’t play on a Tuesday night. We both had midterms and finals this week. I don’t know.”
McGlockton finished the night with 17 points and a slam dunk to force Walton to call a timeout, while the South student section waved goodbye. Underwood wasn’t too far behind with 16 points, 13 of them in the second half.
It was a game that most in attendance will soon want to forget, but Givens plans to use it as a stepping stone.
“In the past, we probably don’t find a way to win that game,” he said. “I’d rather win ugly than lose ugly.”