One of South Forsyth's most impressive wins of the season required a big game from some of its smaller players.
Senior Thomas Stocks scored 17 points, junior Kohl Harris had a team-high six rebounds and the War Eagles pulled away late Saturday to top Denmark, 63-55.
South's scrappy defense held its own despite being outsized against a Denmark offense that typically has no issue getting to the rim and scoring in the paint.
"I think we're gritty," South head coach Scott Givens said. "I think Kohl Harris and Nate Hammond play harder than probably any kids I've ever coached in 20 years coaching basketball. Those kids play extremely hard."
Junior Robert Cowherd led the Danes with 17 points, with 11 coming in the second half.
"I think we just settled way too much," Denmark head coach Tyler Whitlock said. "We tried to play their style of basketball — shooting the ball outside. That's not our style of play. Our style is inside out. We got caught up in the way they wanted to play. They made the plays that they needed to make and we didn't make the plays we needed to make."
Denmark (10-3, 4-0 Region 7-4A) had scored at least 87 points in its past two games, but the Danes were challenged constantly at the rim by junior Devin McGlockton, who blocked three shots and scored 13 points of his own.
Hammond, Stocks and sophomore Ethan Underwood also combined for eight steals.
"Defensively, we were outstanding," Givens said. "It was amazing how well we played defensively. Sutton Smith, who's an outstanding player, we did a great job on him."
Smith managed just six points against the War Eagles.
Down 29-25 at halftime, Denmark junior Joseph Scott went on a second-half scoring spree, punctuated by a two-hand jam off an alley-oop that made the score 45-43 with 5:05 remaining.
"First half, I talked to him and he was drifting out to the 3-point line way too much," Whitlock said of Scott. "With our size advantage, again, we should have been able to do a lot more. I think that was a big turnaround for him in the second half."
But South (11-3, 2-0 Region 5-7A) never surrendered its lead, converting 14 of 18 free throws in the second half.
Harris was nearly perfect from the charity stripe, hitting on 10 of 12 free throws.
Denmark played seven players who are 6-foot-2 or taller but was unable to translate that advantage into points.
"We didn't utilize it. That's the frustrating part is, getting guys to consistently buy into what it takes for us to win," Whitlock said. "Our style of play and the way that we're built isn't the flashy, fun, exciting style. We're not going to shoot 30-foot 3-point shots and ooh and ah the crowd. We're going to bang, we're going to finish at the rim and we're going to get fouled and go to the free-throw line. It's not glamorous, it's not the fun way to do it, but at the end of the day it gets the job done. Right now, we've just got to more consistently buy into that mentality."
The two teams split a two-game series last season, and this is the last time they will face each other until next year's reclassification puts them in the same region.
"All respect to Coach Whitlock. He's a great guy, great coach," Givens said. "They're going to have a chance to win the 4A state title. They're that good. We just were a little bit better today."