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Basketball: No. 6 West Forsyth girls near school record in blowout win
West Forsyth senior Cayla Cowart goes up for a layup Tuesday during the Wolverines' 82-45 win against Gainesville. - photo by David Roberts

West Forsyth's girls basketball team neared an all-time performance Tuesday in an 82-45 victory against Gainesville.

What the Wolverines did achieve Tuesday evening is their best offensive output of the whole season.

The Wolverines finished one point shy of the school record for points in a game, a record that was set more than seven years ago when the they scored 83 points during a holiday tournament against Martin Luther King Jr. High School in 2014.

All seven players scored a point against Gainesville, and West landed five different players in double digits.

"I thought we took good shots and made good decisions when we drove in and they collapsed," West head coach Mallory Ranfos said. "We kicked it out and knocked down the shots."

Molly Quincy scored a game-high 21 points, while Calie Thrower [14 points], Cayla Cowart [13 points], Zaria Smith [12 points] and Audrey Anderson [10 points] followed.

Quincy scored six in the first quarter and entered halftime with 14 points.

Quincy's and-one put West ahead 3-0 and sparked a 7-0 run that lasted nearly half the quarter, until a bucket by Zaria Williams put the Red Elephants on the board with 4:30 left in the first quarter.

Seconds later, Cowart and Thrower entered the game off the bench and helped push the advantage to 16-6 by the end of the opening period.

Quincy's putback opened a second quarter that saw the Wolverines score 20 points and outrebound Gainesville 10-4. Cowart accounted for three of those boards and finished with a team-high eight rebounds.

West successfully pushed the tempo of the game late in the second quarter, ending the half on a 13-2 run that featured several easy transition layups for Quincy.

The Wolverines began to heat up from the perimeter in the third quarter, knocking down four 3-pointers to grab a 62-35 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Anderson was perfect from 3-point range, knocking down two on back-to-back possessions halfway through the third quarter.

"Without Katherine [Bottoms] right now, she's really stepped up," Ranfos said. "Zaria's really stepped up, and even Riley [Pepin] has stepped up and done things on the other end of the floor. Audrey is a very good shooter, but she's actually more consistent for us on the defensive end taking charges and pulling some big boards. It was nice to see he knock down those two threes in the third."

West's season high for points scored was 71 points [Nov. 11 against Dawson County], but Pepin's putback with 4:00 remaining made it 73-41 and set a new season high. 

Pepin finished with six points, as did Lillian Seitz, who made an impressive play moments later when she stole the ball and laid it in on a breakaway.

West managed to score 82 points despite rotating only seven players.

"It has its challenges at practice," Ranfos said. "With those seven, eight players, I wouldn't trade them for the world. Hands down, they're a great group. They get along with each other, they enjoy each other and it's just refreshing right now that it's literally somebody different every night. I think that's hard to defend at times."

The Wolverines [15-4, 5-2 Region 6-7A] have won four straight games and are back in action at 6 p.m. Friday at home against No. 5 South Forsyth.