“They’ve got heart that’s bigger than the bodies in their uniforms.”
That's how South Forsyth head coach Keith Gravitt described his team Wednesday after the War Eagles came back to win 53-50 in overtime against Discovery in the first round of the Class 7A state tournament.
Discovery led 35-31 with five minutes left in the game, but back-to-back layups by Maggie Thompson and Clara Morris tied the game. Discovery took the lead again up 41-38, but a Jadyn Kniceley steal led to a Morris 3-pointer to start a 7-0 South run.
However, Discovery made both late layup attempts to tie the game at 45 and send it to overtime. Down 47-46, Kniceley came up with another big steal and drove the ball into the paint for a layup to give South the lead.
Thanks to big free throws from Morris and Ava McGlockton, the War Eagles never lost the lead and will move onto the Sweet 16 against Collins Hill.
“Those are the situations where great teams rise to the occasion,” Gravitt said. “We tell our team all the time that the great teams make their layups and free throws, especially during a tight game.”
Morris played great on both sides of the ball. She scored 12 points and led with game highs in assists (7) and steals (4). Sharon Tolliver led the game with 19 points and Ava McGlockton recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
South came out red hot on offense and led 17-9 at the end of the first quarter. Discovery began to chip away at the lead when South could only make two baskets in the second quarter.
Gravitt said the team’s dry spell was due to avoiding the paint on offense, and that the team needed to get to the free-throw line more often. However, South never lost its defensive identity. They had 13 team steals and held Discovery to just 20 points in the first half.
“That’s our identity as a team,” Gravitt said. “They didn’t let the way Discovery wanted to play affect them from coming out and competing with them.”
South (22-6) will travel to Collins Hill (22-1), the No. 2 team in Class 7A. WNBA legend Maya Moore is an alumnae and Gravitt said he thinks the program has been built back to greatness.
“That doesn’t mean I don’t think we have no chance,” Gravitt said. “It’s going to be a fun and tough battle, but we’re here for it.”
The date and time of the game have not been determined yet.