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Basketball: Strong second half propels South Forsyth to 10th straight win
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South Forsyth freshman Caleb Underwood reaches for a layup Tuesday during the War Eagles' 63-53 win against Lambert. - photo by David Roberts

Each time South Forsyth brought the ball up court late in the fourth quarter, Lambert tried to press.

And each time Lambert tried to press, Brandon Stoudamire made the Longhorns pay.

It was a three-possession game when Kohl Harris' pass met Stoudamire midair for the alley-oop. South broke the press again on the following possession when Stoudamire took Ethan Underwood's long pass and jammed it through.

By the time Harris found Stoudamire under the net again, the War Eagles had built a 13-point lead with only 3:37 remaining, well on their way to a 63-53 win against the Longhorns. 

“You’ve got to be strong," South head coach Scott Givens said. "If you can throw it out of a trap and you can advance it, we’ve got guys on the back side who can finish it, whether it’s Brandon or whether it’s Devin (McGlockton). That’s the thing – we haven’t had two guys like that. That’s where that dynamic athleticism that Brandon has, and Devin just being who Devin is, it just gives us more options.”

Underwood staked South out to a quick 8-0 lead on Tuesday, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and forcing Lambert to call a timeout a little over a minute into the game. 

Lambert managed to keep pace behind strong post play and multiple chances on offensive possessions.

Paul Lunguana scored 14 of his team-high 24 points in the first half, while center Joao Moreira collected seven first-half rebounds and turned many of them into putbacks, allowing the Longhorns to cut South's lead to just three points at halftime.

“Paul has really stepped up from last year," Lambert head coach Scott Bracco said. "He’s taken his game to another level. He’s our workhorse; as he goes, we go. We’re going to continue going through him, and we’re going to get better on the defensive end. We’ve got to get more stops and do a better job on the boards.”

Givens said he challenged his team to be more active on the glass in the second half.

South responded by outrebounding Lambert 15-9 in the second half and limiting Moreira to only one rebound after halftime.

Givens also used McGlockton to cover Lunguana in the second half, resulting in just two made field goals by Lambert's leading scorer.

McGlockton (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Stoudamire (19 points) combined for more than half of South's offense on Tuesday. 

McGlockton also had four assists and three blocks, including one swat that landed four rows into the bleachers.

“We knew going in that we had to focus on him," Bracco said. "We were just trying to play one-on-one with him and he did a great job. He always does a great job against us, and I think when we play again, he’s probably going to continue to play well. He’s a good player.”

South's duo of McGlockton and Stoudamire is one reason the War Eagles are 16-3 and ranked No. 7 in the latest Class 7A poll.

“At the beginning of the season, we weren’t really clicking that well yet," Stoudamire said. "Then, me and him started to build a lot of chemistry, so I feel like it’s really good having him down there, because I can trust that if my man gets by me Devin is going to block it away. If I don’t get the rebound, I know Devin is going to get it for me. He’s really like a bailout in everything.”

Tuesday's game was a sort of homecoming for Stoudamire, who played for the Longhorns last season.

South beat the Longhorns at home last month, 67-62, but Tuesday's game marked the dynamic senior's return to Lambert's gymnasium.

“It’s just a normal game to me," Stoudamire said. "Coach Givens actually asked me that a while back. He asked if it’s personal to me, and it’s not personal to me. Basketball is just basketball to me. I love to play the sport, so it’s just a normal game for me.”

South (16-3, 6-1 Region 6-7A) will host West Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while Lambert (8-10, 3-4 Region 6-7A) will travel to North Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. Friday.