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South Forsyth girls outlast North to win first Region 6-AAAAAA championship
SouthRegional Win 1
South's KK Storms (far left) hugs Ally Welch after the Lady War Eagles beat North, 51-48, for the Region 6-AAAAAA title Saturday. - photo by Micah Green

JOHNS CREEK — When South Forsyth needed it most — when a tenuous hold on Saturday’s Region 6-AAAAAA championship game had evaporated, and North Forsyth fans behind the two teams’ benches started to swell with noise — there was little question who would stem the tide.

North’s Sydney Pefanis tied proceedings at 43 with 2:02 to play. South guard Sarah Myers walked the ball up the middle of Chattahoochee High School’s floor, in no real rush, before pulling up two feet behind the three-point arc to launch a trademark high-arcing shot.

Myers’ deep three barely touched net, giving the Lady War Eagles a lead with 1:55 left; the Maryland commit then knocked down two free throws with 10.6 seconds remaining to help seal a 51-48 win.

“We were up, and they hit a couple when we went cold, so I knew it was time to step up and hit a big shot to get us going again,” Myers said. “I knew I was going to shoot it all the way up the floor. Coach is always telling me to keep shooting, so even when it hasn’t been falling, my teammates still are confident in me.”

The Maryland commit led South with 16 points. KK Storms added 14 and Emily Dreslinski tallied 11, nine in the second half.

For North, Lochlain Corliss finished with 17, Caroline Bowns added 13 and Morgan Grindle, aggressive all night, scored 10. Okwunne Ogbogu grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lady Raiders.

North never trailed in the first half. South took its first lead of the game at the 3:18 mark of the third quarter on a Dreslinski layup before going up by as many as six (at 40-34 on another Dreslinski layup) in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Raiders chipped away — Corliss hit a three, and then another, before Pefanis’ driving bank shot at the 2:02 mark.

Keith Gravitt, in his 12th season as the head girls coach at South, won his first-ever region title in any classification Saturday evening. He got choked up while hugging assistant coaches Ashley Jones and Greer Long and again watching his girls take the trophy.

“Seeing the smiles on their faces...I mean, look at them over there,” Gravitt said. “They’re going to remember how they felt when they went on that court to receive it. I think for any coach worth his salt, that’s what it’s all about.”

Myers said South’s two losses last week, one to West Forsyth and another at North last Friday, refocused the Lady War Eagles.

“Those definitely were still in the back of our minds, because we knew we were better than how we had played in those two losses,” she said. “I think we needed that to help motivate us. When we do things wrong and we win, it’s just like, ‘whatever, we still won,’ but when we lose, that’s when we can really see what needs to get fixed.”

The way South’s two previous meetings with North this season had gone, there was every reason to expect another one-possession game, and that’s what it was for just about all 32 minutes. The biggest lead for either side was seven (North led 22-15 midway through the second quarter).

“I don’t think there was any way for the big group of girls we brought back to forget what happened last year,” Gravitt said. “On the same token, North had been there three times. We knew it was going to be a war, just like it turned out to be. I think that’s what it was.”

South Forsyth girls 51, North Forsyth 48

North Forsyth   11    13     9    15_48
South Forsyth    8    12    15    16_51

North Forsyth: Corliss 17; Bowns 13; Grindle 10; Pefanis 7; Jones 1.

South Forsyth: Myers 16; Storms 14; Dreslinski 11; Welch 6; Threlkeld 4.