By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Basketball: West Forsyth girls lean on defense, top Forsyth Central
West Forsyth's Riley Pepin looks to beat Forsyth Central's Hailey Berman to the basket during a Region 6-7A matchup Friday at Forsyth Central. (Photo by Nicholas Sullivan)

After six quick points by Forsyth Central's Lily DeLuca, West Forsyth saw its lead shrink to 24-21 early in the third quarter of a Region 6-7A Friday road game.

Following a timeout, the Wolverines shut out the Bulldogs over the final 6:29 of the period and went on a 17-2 run to take full control.

It allowed West Forsyth to put together a 41-28 victory to open 2023 on a winning note and even its region record at 1-1.

“We are struggling right now scoring and shooting the ball,” Wolverines head coach Mallory Ranfos said. “Defensively is where we need to keep ourselves in the ballgame. We gave up six points to one of their better players. We have to know where she’s at at all times, and we just can’t allow easy buckets like that.”

Forsyth Central outscored West Forsyth in the first and fourth quarters — albeit by just two points in each period.

The Wolverines, though, held a decisive 25-11 edge over the middle two quarters, including runs of 7-0 and 6-0 to begin and end the second period, respectively.

DeLuca scored six points in the opening stanza to help the Bulldogs (3-11, 0-2) carry a 10-8 advantage into the second quarter.

Six of West Forsyth's eight first-quarter points came from the foul line, but in the second period, the Wolverines (7-6) began to get out in transition en route to a 23-15 halftime lead.

Once DeLuca — who finished with a game-high 14 points — went on her run early in the second half, West Forsyth regained control by scoring the final nine points of the third quarter.

Molly Quincy and Zaria Smith each recorded 12 points and six rebounds for the Wolverines, who were playing their first game without versatile junior Katherine Bottoms.

“Katherine does a little bit of everything for us, so that’a a huge hole that we’re going to have to fill,” Ranfos said. “Not one person is going to be able to fill it. We have to have a little bit better from everybody else.

“I was proud of how they adjusted. We changed up our defenses a little bit. They competed, and I appreciate them for doing that. … It was helpful that we had a few weeks off to adjust to losing her.”

Having dropped its region opener in early December at South Forsyth, West Forsyth is looking to start compiling victories over the next month. If the win over the Bulldogs is any indication, it will be the Wolverines defense that will be the key.

“We understand how important these wins are in region,” Ranfos said. “As ugly as it was, we’re going to focus on our defense that got us a win today in a crazy, unique environment.”