Friday night was senior night for host South Forsyth, and the girls and boys basketball teams both fought off North Forsyth with big scoring runs to sweep the Raiders. The girls team started the night with a gritty 47-32 win, and the boys closed out the night with a 55-33 win of their own.
For Evan Cole, senior night was his. He is the only senior for South (8-15, 4-4 Region 5-7A) and the undeniable leader of the team. The UNC-Wilmington commit smiled underneath the ceremonial balloons before the game with his parents, but the smile quickly went away as he stared down his opponents before the opening jump ball.
North (5-17, 1-6) entered the game coming off of their first region win of the season again Forsyth Central. The Raiders looked like they were going to pick up right where they left off. They started the game on a tear, shutting down and frustrating Cole on defense, and turning the game into a slow, defensive battle.
North finished the first quarter up 14-4, but once Cole and the South offense settled in, the comeback would be furious.
Cole checked back into the game with about a minute left in the first quarter, and until the buzzer sounded to mark the end of the second, South outscored North 17-4. North failed to score any points in the second quarter.
“We seem to start slow [against North],” South head coach Scott Givens said. “You have to give credit to Coach [Brian] Moon and North Forsyth, but that second quarter was incredible, offensively and defensively.”
The scoring run never stopped. Junior Joel Brown came off the bench to score 16 point and grab a pair of rebounds.
But the night was all about Cole, who finished the night with 21 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, three steals and a pair of assists.
“He played with a lot of energy tonight, and I’m very proud of him,” Givens said. “I think he’s the best player to ever come through this school.”
For the South girls (16-7, 7-1), they battled their way to a win over North (15-6, 3-4) by way of steady play by their group of senior girls. The game started off the exact opposite way the game finished. Both teams struggled to find the basket, and both teams struggled to hang onto the ball. The defenses for both teams created turnovers and few clean looks at the basket.
It wasn’t until South hit the free throw line that they established a comfortable lead. The Lady Eagles took 22 free throws on the night and only missed one.
“Every coach will tell you free throws and layups are huge for winning big games,” South girls head coach Keith Gravitt. “Obviously, that was a very important part for us tonight.”
North trailed by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, but a late run cut the lead to as few as seven.
It was too little, too late, as South closed out the game and got a huge victory to set up a pivotal game against Lambert.
Leading the way for South was Sara Idris, scoring 18 points and grabbing seven rebounds.