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Basketball: West Forsyth gearing up for big test against ... West Forsyth?
Cayla Cowart
West Forsyth sophomore Cayla Cowart goes against a Gainesville defender earlier this year during a 56-35 win. - photo by David Roberts

By McClain Baxley

For the Forsyth County News

After 11 years of sharing the same name, it’s finally happening — West Forsyth is playing West Forsyth.

Friday night, the West Forsyth basketball teams will head to Clemmons, North Carolina, to match up with the Titans for the first time in either program’s history.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about doing for several years,” West athletic director Brett Phipps said. “When we hired Coach (Fredrick) Hurt three years ago, he’s from North Carolina. One of his former colleagues is now the head coach at West Forsyth up there. They started talking about it a year ago, thinking it’d be a real novel idea and it all came together.”

Hurt has history against the Titans that began when he was coaching at East Davidson High School in North Carolina. 

The crosstown rivals met every year and the Wolverines’ head coach maintained relationships with coaches at West Forsyth and had tried to get this out-of-state series going for a few years.

“It was such a rivalry, that when I took the job at this West Forsyth, some of my coaching buddies in North Carolina that coached with me told me, ‘Be honest. Did you throw up in your mouth just a little bit?’” Hurt joked. “A lot of battles between my school and their high school.”

The oddity in names has caused confusion for not only residents of both schools, but even those in the collegiate realm.

“It’s funny, because I’ve gotten a few recruiting calls looking for someone from West Forsyth and it’s not one of our kids, it’s one of theirs,” West girls head coach David May said.

Initially, the plan was to join North Forsyth and have the Raiders travel as well to face North Forsyth in North Carolina, but the two couldn’t get the scheduling down.

“We want to turn it into something consistent and get some of the other Forsyth schools involved,” Hurt said. “We come up there, they come down here. We don’t have any of that worked out yet, but that’s what we would like to do.”

Both games will be competitive, but the West Forsyth girls have a more recent history of success.

“They are defending state champs in North Carolina,” May said. “They’re still a very solid team. They have a player just about as anyone we’ve played this year. It’ll be a really good challenge for our girls.”

The 12-0 Wolverines, coming off a come-from-behind win at Central last Friday, will face the Titans Friday night and then travel to Kernersville, North Carolina, for a bout with the undefeated Glenn Bobcats. Facing adversity is something May’s squad has had to deal with all season.

He expects there to be some adversity on the road Friday, but feels that the girls will be able to remain composed.

“Our kids are extremely competitive,” May said. “We’ve gotten off to some bad starts this season, but we’ve found ways to hang around and battle back.”

On the boys side, Hurt expects a challenge from the team that raised NBA star Chris Paul. He also expects some challenges to arise from being on the road.

“Anything that’s different can throw high school kids off,” Hurt said. “We’re hoping that we can warn them about things before hand, be excited about the trip and be prepared to play. We definitely want to put our best foot forward.”