South Forsyth girls coach Keith Gravitt would’ve been forgiven for calling timeout and ranting and raving when West opened Saturday’s game on a 15-2 run.
He’s not the type to do that, however, and his team doesn’t fret when trailing big. The Lady War Eagles closed to within two after one quarter — two KK Storms 3-pointers finally got South going — and imposed their will the rest of the way to beat West, 62-54.
Jenna Staiti turned in her second straight 38-point outing and added 9 rebounds and four blocks for the Lady Wolverines. Storms led South with 16 points, while Ally Welch had 14 and Sarah Myers tallied 11.
“Our girls stayed level about everything on the court, started playing defense a little bit,” Gravitt said. “That’s where it had to start. Once we started scoring, then we could make it the full-court game that we wanted.”
For the first eight minutes, at least, South (12-2 overall, 7-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) struggled to get its press going, and the turnover count bears that out: West (11-3, 6-2) committed 29 for the game, but only five in the first quarter.
Staiti had her way early, too, scoring 10 of West’s first 15. She did as she pleased most of the afternoon, really.
“To some extent, [Jenna] is going to get the ball whenever she wants,” Gravitt said. “West got it to her really easily early on. All you can really do is make it harder for them to get her the ball. By doing that, you create some defensive pressure on [their other girls].”
Storms, who said she spent all offseason working on becoming a more dangerous shooter from outside, brought South to life with back-to-back threes before Myers drilled another. Just like that, the Lady War Eagles were within five.
By the time Storms grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the resulting layup to put South up 48-32 in the third quarter — capping a 46-17 run over 16 or so minutes — South’s transition game was taking its toll on West.
“I’m proud of our girls,” Gravitt said. “KK had a great game. We play hard, anticipate well. Sarah [Myers] realized her shot wasn’t going down, but she figured out what else she could do help us, which is what great players do.”
South returns to action at home on Tuesday night for a much-anticipated Region 6-AAAAAA title game rematch with North. The two teams are a combined 15-0 in region play this season. West, meanwhile, takes on Chattahoochee at home that night.
South Forsyth girls 62, West Forsyth 54
South Forsyth 16 15 19 12_62
West Forsyth 18 10 12 14_54
South Forsyth: Storms 16, Welch 14, Myers 11, Threlkeld 7, Dreslinski 6, Diem 5, Jonassen 3.
West Forsyth: Staiti 38, Conner Parker 4, Quincy 4, Rodriguez 3, Ortlip 3, Wilken 2.
2-pt FG: South 19-45, West 21-32.
3-pt FG: South 4-14, West 1-1.
Free Throws: South 12-19, West 9-13.
Rebounds: South 24, West 20.
Turnovers: South 16, West 29.