South Forsyth has faced its nemesis—its counterpart in Region 6-AAAAAA—twice so far this season, and the Lady War Eagles have come out unscathed in league play with a perfect 17-0 record.
In a rematch of a Jan. 19 contest for the ages, a 65-62 win in favor of South despite Jenna Staiti's 46 points to lead West Forsyth, South managed to pull away for a 59-43 victory Tuesday night on the road in what could have been the last major dual between future University of Maryland players in Staiti and South's Sarah Myers.
The seniors both had their ups and downs Tuesday night. Staiti had 14 points and six rebounds in the first half before being slowed with a foot injury, but later fought through it to finish with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Myers shook off a poor shooting start to finish hot, scoring 26 points and adding six boards of her own.
South head coach Keith Gravitt knows there's a chance he will face West one more time in the Region 6 tournament—both teams have been by far the best in the league this year—but doesn't want his team to look past another county matchup, Friday against North Forsyth.
“We're going to try to get emotionally prepared to play North,” Gravitt said. “You do not want to take any moment for granted, and we're not looking beyond Friday. I'm just really proud of what the team accomplished today.”
South (20-4, 17-0) never trailed. They led 25-20 at halftime and 44-30 at the end of the third quarter. While Staiti had another phenomenal game, West (18-6, 15-2) struggled to find production outside of her.
Jane Ortlip was the team's next leading scorer with 5 points, while Carson Parker helped with four steals, but it wasn't nearly enough. Still, West head coach David May was more concerned with his team's defensive effort against a difficult-to-defend South team.
“I don't think we did a very good job defensively in guarding them,” May said. “Right now I don't know if we have five willing to guard the way we need to. They really attacked and found our weaknesses, defensively.”
May was a little less bashful about the prospect of getting one more chance at beating South.
“I think both teams are,” May said of being prepared to face off in the region tournament. “It's just something where, we have to get better. If we do see them again we will have to do better than we did tonight, but we have a lot of games before that.”
South also got contributions from K.K. Storms, who dished 7 assists and had 4 steals, while Mari Jonassen scored 12 points.
South boys 68, West 58
Tyler Elliot led with 16 points, while Evan Cole pitched in 14 as South (11-12, 7-9) beat West (5-18, 3-13) on the road. Elliot and Cole both made 3-pointers early, along with Austin Childress (12) to lead the War Eagles in a shooting spree out of the gate.
South led 36-17 at one point in the first half, but the Wolverines used a run at the end of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 38-23 at the half, then closed with eight at 38-30 with 5:41 in the third before the War Eagles were able to push their lead and hold off in the fourth.
It's been an up-and-down year for South, but head coach Scott Givens hopes finishing the regular season with a .500 record would be huge. They'll need to defeat North on Friday to accomplish that.
“We're still learning how to win, learning how to finish,” Givens said. “We've got young guys and haven't been in the winning circle a lot in the past, but we're learning how to finish.”
Meanwhile, West is still trying to completely gel as a unit. Head coach Jake Dickey knows it's a long process, but has been pleased recently with his team's effort. Tuesday night was no different.
“We didn't do a good job of closing out on shooters early on,” Dickey said. “We clawed our way back, and we won the second half. Spotting them that many points, it's tough, but we fought hard. We are making slow improvements, but the good thing is the team still is working each day to get better.”
John Peterson led the Wolverines with 13 points, while Jay Magee scored 10.