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Basketball: Williams, War Eagles knock off West Forsyth in third-place game
Tolliver
South Forsyth freshman Sharon Tolliver, right, tries to get around West Forsyth sophomore Cayla Cowart during Friday's 50-45 win against the Wolverines in the Region 5-7A tournament. - photo by David Almeda

Ryane Williams forced the turnover, Ava McGlockton took possession of the ball and found Sharon Tolliver streaking up the court, and Tolliver laid it in for an easy layup.

That’s how South Forsyth’s girls basketball team is supposed to look.

That play completed a 10-point swing to open the fourth quarter, turning 35-33 deficit into an eight-point lead and allowing South Forsyth to take control of Friday’s third-place game against West Forsyth, as the War Eagles rallied for a 50-45 win.

“They played so hard. (They) had a pretty tough game on Wednesday and they responded,” South Forsyth head coach Keith Gravitt said. “They came to practice yesterday and they didn’t let that affect them. They came out here and got after it today. They believed in each other.”

South Forsyth had lost to West Forsyth 51-28 and 62-57 earlier this season, but Friday was different.

Williams impressed in the paint on offense, scoring 16 points, and she was a menace on defense, blocking five West Forsyth shots.

The bulk of Williams’ production came in the third quarter, when South Forsyth’s 5-foot-10 senior scored eight points, blocked two shots and picked up two rebounds.

“She’s getting in the paint. I think that was the key,” Gravitt said. “She knew she had a matchup advantage right there. Her teammates trusted her and she got to those spots. She also was big for us on the boards as well. Rynne’s played a great tournament – Game 1 against Lambert, too.”

Tolliver, who missed a bulk of the first half after picking up two quick fouls, still managed 14 points and was nearly as effective off the ball.

“Sharon can get on a roll,” Gravitt said. “She runs the floor so well, so people have to keep up with her. Sharon did a great job.

South Forsyth’s win was even more impressive considering the War Eagles were without Wingate signee Ashley Breindl.

Thrower
West Forsyth sophomore Calie Thrower drives toward the basket during Friday's 50-45 loss to the War Eagles in the Region 5-7A tournament. - photo by David Almeda
The loss is West Forsyth’s second in as many games and fifth in eight tries.

“Just coming back from a disappointing week, it’s just, ‘How do you approach that?’ We have to be able to put that behind us and approach it in a positive frame of mind,” West Forsyth head coach David May said. “We just have to have a good attitude moving forward into next week.”

Sophomore Cayla Cowart exploded for 19 points despite being held to just two points in the first quarter. Sophomore Calie Thrower added a pair of second-half 3-pointers.

But West Forsyth had limited success beneath the net, where the War Eagles held a clear height advantage.

“We are who we are. We’ve just got to be stronger inside,” May said. “We can do a better job of drawing fouls in that situation. Sometimes I think we go up and just try to shoot away from shot-blockers. We’re so much smaller, (that) we can’t go away from shot-blockers. We have to go through the body and draw contact in that situation. We definitely did not do a good job of that tonight.”

Gravitt said South Forsyth is utilizing that strength better now than the team did earlier this season.

 “I think we’re doing a little better job of it now,” he said. “With (Ava McGlockton) as well, they have to defend that. So that adds to hopefully getting some people open outside, because we’re always doubled and tripled.”

South Forsyth, the No. 3 seed out of Region 5-7A, will travel to Brookwood (15-12), while West Forsyth will face Region 7-7A winner Norcross (18-9) next week.

“I do think our region is a very good region. I think we can be competitive with the region we’re going up against,” May said. “We didn’t make it easier for ourselves this week, but we still have a chance to go in and win a basketball game next week.”