Sarah Myers led South Forsyth to a thrilling 67-61 overtime win over Alpharetta on Wednesday, and in doing so gave herself more to celebrate than just a victory.
With 1:24 remaining in the first quarter, Myers scored her 1,000th career point as a Lady War Eagle, hitting a free throw after being fouled on a layup attempt. It was a huge accomplishment for the sophomore guard, one she won’t soon forget.
“It feels pretty great,” she said of the milestone. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches for giving me all these opportunities.
“I’m just blessed to be at a great school where we put a lot of points on the board. I’m glad a lot of those points led to wins.”
“That’s a huge accomplishment for any player,” said South head coach Keith Gravitt. “She understands that she’s been given some God-given talents, and she has a great team to work with that works with her and plays with her.”
Myers would go on to score 29 points in the game, the most important coming in the waning moments of regulation.
Down by two with just 15.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Myers made a layup and drew a foul, tying a game that had gone back-and-forth for the majority of the contest. She hit the ensuing free throw, giving the Lady War Eagles a one-point lead.
“It felt so good,” Myers said of the play. “I knew I had to come up with a big shot for my teammates.”
That lead didn’t hold, however, as Alpharetta (10-14, 6-7) quickly tied the score with a free throw of its own to send the game to overtime.
But in the extra frame, South came alive. After a somewhat sloppy effort through the first 32 minutes, the Lady War Eagles (21-4, 10-3) stormed out to a double digit lead and held on.
“I think we just found a new source of energy in overtime,” Myers added. “We said, ‘Overtime is our time. We’re going to win this right here.’”
While South came out on top, Gravitt was not pleased with his girls’ performance. With just one game left in the regular season before the region tournament, Gravitt was hoping for a polished effort that would be acceptable in tournament action.
Instead, there were a lot of mental miscues, turnovers and general sloppy play—all uncharacteristic of the talented Lady War Eagles.
“I’m not happy or satisfied with the way we played tonight,” said Gravitt. “It was pretty evident we had some deficiencies out on the court and in our play.”
One of the better players who committed few errors was freshman guard Mari Jonassen. As South got beat on the boards time and time again throughout the night, Jonassen’s scrappy defense above the key helped contain an offensively-gifted Alpharetta club.
Jonassen finished with seven points, six steals and three rebounds.
Additionally, her three overtime points, scored on a three-point play, proved to be vital in creating a late cushion over the Lady Raiders.
“Mari is an intense defensive player and makes things happen out there,” Gravitt said. “She had some huge steals and hit some big free throws. She pulled out exactly what we know she’s capable of out there.”
South will close out its regular season schedule on Friday at Johns Creek.
“With the region tournament ahead of us, we have a lot of work to do in a short period of time,” said Gravitt.
Alpharetta boys 57, South Forsyth 33
South Forsyth (4-16, 3-10) started strong against Alpharetta (17-7, 11-2) but couldn’t keep up in the second half for its third loss in a row.
The War Eagles were without the services of senior Greer Landry, who led the team to its big win over West last Friday. Still, South was able to start fast out of the gate and head into halftime up 19-18.
They hit their shots, responded well to Alpharetta’s press defense and contained the Raiders’ highly talented forward. Matt McCorkle’s seven first quarter points helped set the tone, as did Zach Sewing’s six second quarter points.
But once the third started, it was all Alpharetta.
Six-foot-six junior Devontae Cacock led the Raiders’ to a strong second half with 16 points in the final 16 minutes. South simply didn’t have an answer for him.
A 39-15 run sealed an easy victory for Alpharetta, one that kept them within one game of 6-AAAAAA region leader Lambert.
“Everything changed after halftime,” said South head coach Manson Hill. “First half we slowed them down and got them to play our style of basketball. In the second half, we just didn’t execute, especially against the press. We turned the ball over a lot and that cost us.
“[Alpharetta] is a great basketball team, and there’s a reason they’re one of the best in the region.”
South will close out its regular season on Friday at Johns Creek.