For just under a month, South Forsyth’s boys basketball team just couldn’t find a way to get into the win column.
From Dec. 28 to Jan. 17, the War Eagles lost six consecutive games, with four of those defeats coming by six points or fewer. But through that dry spell, head coach Scott Givens’ belief in his players and his team never wavered.
“I don't think we ever lost our confidence,” Givens said. “Before Christmas, we were finishing games. We lost to (Central) in our place and lost to West in our place. We just didn't finish games. All these games were really, really close.”
And on Tuesday night, Givens’ players showed why he had every reason to have confidence, with the War Eagles soundly avenging their two-point Jan. 10 loss to Forsyth Central with a 71-49 win.
South improved to 14-10 overall and 4-5 in Region 5-7A play. Central dropped to 9-15 overall and 2-7 in the region.
“We're a really good team,” Givens said. “Even though we had a little funky spell there, we're a really good basketball team.”
Devin McGlockton, who ended his night with 23 points and nine rebounds, set the tone early for South. He was responsible for four of the War Eagles’ buckets in the first quarter, and combined with 3-pointers from Ethan Underwood and Nate Hammond, South led 20-8 entering the second quarter.
“We just came out and made some shots and jumped on them,” Givens said. “We got them back on their heels and we just kind of kept rolling after that. (Anthony Roveto) not playing for them hurt them. Our pressure affected them, so we took advantage of that.”
Brandon Sherer and Dylan Carter made some shots for the Bulldogs in the minutes leading up to halftime, but South’s pressure forced turnovers that Central couldn’t recover from. The Bulldogs trailed 39-19 at the break.
“We didn't match their intensity,” Central assistant coach Tim Dierks said. “We had a nice win at their place, but their kids came ready to play tonight, and we weren't ready. There's a real good chance that we may see them again in a week and that certainly concerns us about their level of intensity versus ours.”
Central head coach Brandon Hutchins was unavailable for comment following the game.
For the rest of the game, Central was in catch-up mode, and although the Bulldogs were able to put together a small run early in the third, McGlockton helped seal the game with two dunks midway through the period, and South’s outside shooters were connecting to match whatever Central made.
Sherer led Central with 14 points, while Carter added 12. Underwood scored 15 points for South, while Gavin Morris totaled 16 points off the bench. With a week left until the Region 5-7A tournament, South is hopeful that its midseason funk is gone for good.
“I like our team,” Givens said. “Central's a very good team. It wasn't their night, it was our night. They're high school kids, man. You need a team of psychologists to deal with these kids. We brought it tonight, and when we bring it, we're pretty good.”