ALPHARETTA — South Forsyth’s seniors were in first grade the last time the girls basketball team qualified for the postseason. That 11-year drought is now over.
Rachel Myers (23 points), her sister, Sarah Myers (17) and Ashley Hannan (11) combined for all but two of the No. 4 seed Lady War Eagles’ points to earn the program’s first state playoff berth since 2003 with a 53-36 victory over No. 5 seed Chattahoochee in the opening round of the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament on Tuesday at Alpharetta High School.
"[The chemistry] comes with them playing a few years together," South head coach Keith Gravitt said. "Them playing together in practice and feeding off of each other helps with that. It always makes it a little tougher matchup for anybody if you’re able to [have your scorers on the same page]."
The Lady War Eagles (19-7) led by three to end the first quarter and were ahead 21-13 midway through the second until Chattahoochee (13-12) fought back. The Lady Cougars’ defense forced South into poor shot selection and allowed them to close the gap to 25-21 at the half.
It was South’s turn to display its defensive prowess in the third quarter, as the Lady War Eagles forced the Lady Cougars into eight turnovers that led to easy transition points. The defense continued to hold firm, and the Lady War Eagles went on a 13-7 run to close out the third period.
Rachel Myers scored seven of her 23 points in the third quarter, including a deep 3-pointer, and was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc on the night.
"I just knew that I needed to work on my shot and find my spot [on the court] and I think I did that [with] the extra practice with my sister," Rachel Myers said.
"We’ve been shooting for [a state playoff berth] since day one. We sat down with the coaches and made dreams and goals and one of our [goals] was at least making it to state."
The Lady War Eagles didn’t let up in the fourth quarter, when they held Chattahoochee to only seven points.
Cassidy Gaillard led the Lady Cougars with 18 points, but none of her teammates scored more than seven.
"It’s always a tough battle with Chattahoochee," Gravitt said. "… Our girls did a good job at the end to finish. They kept playing hard on defense. Ashley Hannan did a great job on the boards at the end.
"We had several people step up and play big in this game. I’m very proud of our girls."
South will face No. 1 seed Alpharetta at 7 p.m. on Friday at Alpharetta High School.