Frederick Hurt estimates his team's current funk began about a month ago, back when West Forsyth faced Milton for the first time.
The Wolverines, then 13-3, opened that game with a 30-point first quarter, firing on all cylinders offensively. But Milton woke up after that first period, outpacing West in the final three quarters to win by 18 points.
West has dropped five games since then, including Wednesday's rematch against Milton, as the Eagles beat the Wolverines 61-50 in the Region 5-7A semifinal to reach the championship game against South Forsyth.
West Forsyth will play 5:30 p.m. Friday against Lambert in the third-place game.
"I feel like we've had a bad stretch here at the end of the year, but we've done a good job the last couple days of trying to get back where we were," Hurt said. "So, I feel confident we'll get a good night's sleep and have a good practice tomorrow."
West Forsyth (18-9) was riding high after Broc Bidwell's buzzer-beater lifted the Wolverines past Forsyth Central in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
Bidwell scored 17 points Wednesday against Milton, but it wasn't enough to keep pace with Milton's high-powered, physical offense, which challenged the Wolverines in the paint and shot consistently from the perimeter.
Sophomore Bruce Thorton led the Eagles with 25 points and senior Evan Hurt knocked down a trio of corner threes early in the game to create separation.
"We tried to change up defenses because they're so dang good. They're just so dang good," Hurt said. "Bruce Thorton is just unbelievable, for a high schooler to be the kind of player he is. We tried to change it up and do something. We don't play a lot of zone, but we tried to change it up."
West Forsyth's defense held its own in the second half, as the Wolverines limited Milton to just 24 second-half points. The Wolverines are the second in-state school to hold Milton to 61 points or fewer (55-50 win against Jonesboro, Dec. 7).
Senior Jack Bock opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to cut Milton's lead to 12 points, which is the closest the Wolverines got until the final seconds of the game when Bidwell sank his fourth 3-pointer on the game's final possession.
"Jack's a solid guy that we've counted on all year," Hurt said. "For us to be successful at 7A, all our guys that are supposed to contribute have to contribute. We can't have a night where only one or two contribute. And everybody contributes in different ways — it's not all about scoring. He's a guy that we count on."
West Forsyth has secured a spot in the Class 7A state playoffs, and the Wolverines' game Friday will determine the team's seeding.