By McClain Baxley
For the Forsyth County News
North Forsyth and West Forsyth entered the first game of region play Tuesday with a combined one loss, but just three minutes into the game, North took an 8-0 lead over the home Wolverines.
Head coach David May called a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, sophomore Calie Thrower hit a 3-pointer and then North went on an eight-point run.
As time was winding down in the first quarter, sophomore Cayla Cowart called out a play to run, and after working the ball a bit, she drove to make it a 13-point deficit as the buzzer went off.
It was that type of leadership and belief from a young team that launched the Wolverines to a 62-55 overtime victory against the Raiders Tuesday night.
“Our girls, they just keep fighting. Very easily, to play a team as good as North, to be down 18-3 in the first quarter, and they just kept clawing back,” May said. “We got off to the worst possible start we could have, and we’re still not out of the game.”
North was outrebounding West and getting the ball to senior Ansley Allen, who ran over the home team, taking whatever she wanted. West went on a mini-run to start the second quarter, but committed turnovers that the Raiders turned into points.
Allen, who finished with a team-leading 22 points, was sneaky on defense and moved around on offense, converting on nearly every shot she made.
Down by 12 after halftime, West’s first possession of the second half resulted in charge. North took the ball straight down for an easy layup.
But the Wolverines continued to work at the deficit and won the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Thrower and Cowart continued to heat up and West began to create turnovers and come down with rebounds.
“We had some girls who hit some really, really big shots,” May said. “I thought some girls stepped up and really played well. Calie was awesome. Cayla Cowart hit a big shot. Maggie Quincey hit a big shot.”
With 1:51 left in the fourth quarter, West took its first lead of the night. Then North hit two free throws to retake the lead.
The two squads exchanged missed layups and fouls, sending a decent crowd to its feet.
Thrower hit a corner three with 6.8 seconds in regulation to give West a 50-48 lead. North took the ball down and junior Caroline Martin drove the paint. Martin was fouled and hit both free throws, sending the game to overtime.
Cowart and Martin traded 3-pointers in overtime before West was fouled to give them a lead.
With a minute and a half left, North methodically worked its offense, setting up for the perfect shot. A Raiders player threw the ball under the paint and Cowart intercepted the pass to seal the victory for the Wolverines.
“Kalie (Thrower), Calie, Cayla play a lot of basketball and they’ve done a good job of working on their game in the offseason,” May said. “They’re a year smarter. There's a big jump from your first year of varsity to second year and they’ve kept working at it and getting batter.”
After the team’s first region win, May was happy, but was aware that there’s still a long way to go until the playoffs. West will face North again in January, and then maybe again in the region championship in February, a place that North is very familiar with.
“In terms of the big picture, we have to show that we can do it again,” May said. “We have to keep progressing. North is going to get better, so we have to keep getting better.”