Tuesday was a great day to be a War Eagle, as both the South Forsyth girls and boys basketball teams rolled past the Forsyth Central Bulldogs on senior night.
The South girls defeated Central in a 68-16 blowout win to continue their dominant 10-game winning streak and undefeated 6-0 Region 6-7A record. The boys game ended up being a little more dramatic, as South got past the Bulldogs, 51-39.
South got out to a great jump from the start as its defense was playing with a purpose. The War Eagles held the Bulldogs to only one point in the first quarter.
On the other side, South went up 10-1 with great help from Charlie Gersmehl underneath with four points.
Although, the War Eagles offense would start to stall as star point guard Caleb Underwood picked up his second foul early in the half and went to the bench, then Central began its comeback. Shots started to fall and scoring came from all over the team, as the Bulldogs cut the lead to one behind a big 15-point quarter.
That was until a huge play by South forward Jackson Spitzer. With time ticking down on the clock, a shot went up. Spitzer recorded an offensive rebound in the short corner. Spitzer, while starting to fall to the ground, put up a wondrous unbalanced fadeaway and made it with two seconds left on the clock to extend South’s lead to 19-16 at halftime.
Even though Central went into the locker room with the momentum on its side, it didn't carry over into the third quarter.
With Underwood checked back in and starting the second half, the junior really showed what he can do. He hit two triples and a free throw to score seven out of the War Eagles’ 18 points in the third quarter. He had help from Gabe Mullis underneath, scoring down low on some tough finishes and Brock Ferrell also draining a 3.
For Central, slithery guard Camp Wyatt was doing everything he could to keep his team in the game. He came down with three crafty moves at the rim and a set of free throws to end up making eight out of the 10 Bulldog points in the period.
Regardless, South (8-13, 3-3) went into the fourth up 37-26.
“They played a really fundamental, tough defense, which made it hard on us," War Eagles head coach Scott Givens said of the visitors. "Shots weren’t falling early and not taking the best looks. Underwood picking up those fouls hurt us, but that all flipped in the second half.”
Wyatt continued his scoring and got some help from his teammates Caleb Drummer and Kalil Cobrun, who each had four points, but it wasn’t enough as South continued to pile it on.
Underwood continued to score at will, getting half of his team's fourth-quarter points. Gershmel would help close out the double-digit win with a post hook and a 3 to keep it out of reach.
Underwood would be the top scorer for the War Eagles, with 15 out of his 16 points in the second half. Wyatt did all he could, scoring 13 out of the Bulldogs' 23 points in the second half.
“Caleb played absolutely exceptional tonight, scoring 15 of 16 in the second half," Givens said. "He really is a guy that you want on the floor at all times. Charlie did great, getting himself open and scoring. Gabe Mullis played really well getting himself some open looks and a very good job of rebounding.”
South will look to keep its region winning streak alive, hosting a very tough Denmark team on Jan. 27. Meanwhile, Central (3-17, 1-5) will aim to reload and get back on the winning side with a road trip to face the only region team it's beaten so far, West Forsyth.
The girls game Tuesday started out slow, with neither team being able to get anything to fall, until South’s Clara Morris got to the line to sink two free throws and a 3 to help push them out in front 13-3 late in the first.
The Bulldogs showed signs of life after scoring eight straight points, including two big 3s from Hannah Ihle. With the run, they cut the lead to five (15-10) at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, the hosts made sure there was no chance for a comeback, as the War Eagles put on a dominant display on the defensive front. The pressure they applied just above half court with their pestering diamond press made it almost impossible to score, which it almost did as they held Central to just two points.
The defense led to turnovers and steals — which equated to easy offense from the War Eagles, who proceeded to go on a 22-2 run. Jadyn Kniceley scored six of those points — all in the paint — en route to 16 total points.
South (18-3 overall) went running into the half up 37-12.
In the second half, the War Eagles didn’t let up at all on the gas pedal, showing again a display of domination. The defense continued to excel, only holding Central (4-16, 0-6) to four points and a scoreless fourth quarter.
Kniceley continued her strong game by scoring nine points in the second half, with help from Ava McGlockton (10 points) and Morris (9).
On Jan. 27, the South girls will look to continue their fire hot streak against Denmark, while Central hopes to bounce back and pick up its first region win against West Forsyth.