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Basketball: South outlasts Denmark in hard-fought region championship
Photo by Paul Ward

For the first time since 1998, South Forsyth's boys basketball team is the region champion.

The War Eagles outlasted Denmark in a close 50-46 game Thursday to claim the Region 6-7A crown.

In March 2015, current War Eagles head coach Scott Givens was promoted to his current position and told his team his first goal was to bring a region championship to South. He had an opportunity last season, but South fell to Milton by seven points.

 After tonight, Givens and his team have reached their goal. 

“When we lost the championship game last year,” Givens said, “it was a big goal for everybody to get back to this game. And through a pandemic makes me even more proud of these guys.” 

Devin McGlockton scored 25 points, collected 11 rebounds, assisted the ball five times and blocked two shots. He scored 11 points just in the second quarter and had 18 of the team’s 24 points at halftime. 

“[Devin] carried us in the first half,” Givens said after the game. “We were stagnant offensively and having a hard time moving the ball. He just put us on his back in the first half. We needed that. He’s gonna be a heck of a Division I basketball player.” 

Despite McGlockton’s play throughout the game, it was Brandon Stoudamire, Ethan Underwood and Kohl Harris with the heroic free throws late in the fourth quarter to solidify the victory. 

Stoudamire also recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. 

Stoudamire converted an and-one layup with two minutes left in the game to give the War Eagles a six-point lead. After Denmark;s Joseph Scott found Sutton Smith for a 3-pointer, the lead was back down to three points. 

Harris got fouled with 31.2 seconds left, then made both of his baskets to give South a 48-43 lead. Smith once again made a 3-pointer with 21.8 seconds left to cut the deficit to 48-46. 

Underwood was fouled immediately after the inbounds pass and made one of his free throws to make it a three-point game. Scott missed Denmark’s next shot and Wes Kane came down with a rebound and threw an outlet pass down the court without getting fouled to the sprinting Harris. The Denmark defender could not reach him until 5.6 seconds were left on the clock. 

After Harris missed his first free throw attempt, Denmark head coach Tyler Whitlock attempted to ice Harris by calling his final timeout. Harris came back off of the timeout and drained his shot to make South 12 of 15 from the free-throw line in the game, securing the region championship. 

Three Danes scored double-digit points. Smith led the team with 15 points and Scott had 11 points. Both had a team-high three assists. Kourtland Tolbert had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. 

“Coaching these kids is a joy,” Whitlock said. “Win or lose, these kids are going to leave everything on the floor. It’s such a blessing to coach guys like this that truly pour their heart into this and care for one another deeply.”

Denmark led by three points at the end of the first quarter and held South to only 50 points, the War Eagles' lowest total in region play since only scoring 45 points in the 13-point loss they had to Denmark earlier in the season. 

The Danes stole the ball 11 times but just could not convert on a lot of breakaway opportunities. 

“We just wanted to lock in on defense,” Whitlock said. “That’s where we get our identity. We were hopeful we would have shot the ball better than we did and that’s something we’re gonna need to improve on. We knew we had the ability to play with them, but hats off to them.” 

At the end of the game, McGlockton was awarded with the Region 6-7A Player of the Year plaque along with the region tournament’s MVP award. Givens was also awarded Region 6-7A Coach of the Year. 

Stoudamire, Harris and Underwood were all recognized as All-Region 6-7A players, along with Denmark’s Scott and Smith. Stoudamire, Scott and Smith were all on the All-Tournament team as well.

Denmark (16-11) will host Norcross in the first round of the Class 7A state tournament. The two teams played earlier this year with the Danes suffering a 86-64 loss. 

“We’re excited for the opportunity to play them again and see how we’ve improved,” Whitlock said. “Maybe we can even catch them off guard a little bit.” 

South (23-3) has not lost in more than two months and will go for its 18th straight win in the first round of the state tournament. The War Eagles will host Discovery next week in the first round. 

“Even when we don’t play pretty, we have a will to win,” Givens said. “Winning is contagious and we’ve done it for a while now. We want to keep doing it.”