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Basketball: West Forsyth teams win 3rd-place games

The West Forsyth girls basketball team pulled off a 48-45 win over the Denmark Danes Thursday at home in a fight for third place in the Region 6-7A tournament.

The No. 3 seed Wolverines (15-13) jumped out to a 5-0 lead, with Molly Quincy sinking a 3-pointer from the wing.

After that, both teams went cold from the floor.

It wasn’t until the 4:18 mark when fifth-seeded Denmark (7-21) got on the board with Hannah Lopez picking up a loose ball and making a 3-pointer in transition. Then Emma Hempker got in on the scoring action, driving to the rim for a basket to tie the game.

On the next Denmark possession, Hempker missed her layup, but her long arms gave her the advantage to grab the rebound. As she was putting up the shot, she got fouled by Zaria Smith. Hempker made her free throws with confidence and took a 7-5 lead.

The Danes' momentum was rising. On defense, they forced a turnover, and Kaitlyn Counter located Hempker. She drew another foul and started an 8-0 run.

A quick score by Wolverines senior Riley Pepin ended the cold slump, but Hempker had the hot hand, as she continued to showcase it by shooting a contested 3-pointer from the wing.

In the final seconds of the first period, Lopez was applying ball pressure on Smith. Smith tried her best to dribble past her, but Lopez got a hand on the ball at the right time for a steal. She dashed her way to the other end to capitalize on the turnover.

Late in the second quarter, ​Averey Glaze gave the Wolverines their first lead since the opening quarter with a floater. Then Smith knocked down a 3-pointer that had the West bench clapping with joy.

Smith bounced a pass between a Denmark defender's legs to get the ball to an open Quincy, and she drilled the mid-range shot with no hesitation.

West Forsyth was on an 8-0 run and looked to dribble the clock out to get the final shot of the half, but ​Mallory Bryk collected a steal and passed to Hempker for the floater to cut the deficit to 26-21 going to halftime.

West Forsyth and Denmark could not draw much separation in the second half, as both teams were scoring continuously. The Wolverines' biggest lead was by seven points, but Hempker's playmaking skills allowed her to cut the score to 34-31 going into the final period.

With four seconds left on the shot clock, Bryk dribbled toward the interior of the Wolverines defense. She made a layup despite being fouled to retake the lead. However, Quincy came through by knocking down a 3-pointer, thanks to Smith’s assist, with 1:45 left to play.

In traffic, Quincy forced Denmark into a crucial turnover and helped drain the clock to 23.1 seconds. Due to time not being on the Danes' side, they fouled the ball handlers. However, it was Quincy that was sent to the free throw line.

Lopez pushed the pace as fast as she could and was able to cut the deficit to 48-45 with a long 2-pointer with just 2.8 seconds left, alhough there was not enough time for the Danes to have for another offensive possession.

Hempker led the Danes in scoring with 23 points, and Lopez added 11 points.

Quincy recorded a game-high 25 points.

Boys: West Forsyth 56, Milton 52

On Thursday, the West Forsyth boys basketball team used a strong fourth quarter to defeat Milton, 56-52, in the Region 6-7A tournament to lock up the No. 3 seed.

After Wolverines senior ​Chase Damerell missed his layup, the Eagles pushed the pace and found Seth Fitzgerald wide open. Instead of a 3, he opted for a mid-range jumper for the first bucket of the game. 

Braden Halloran got in on the scoring action by driving along the baseline and hitting his defender with a reverse layup.

​Damerell was having a block party early. Three minutes into the game, he blocked a layup, leaving two seconds on the shot clock. Milton attempted to shoot a 3 to beat the shot clock, but ​Damerell followed the ball and raced over to collect another block.

West Forsyth’s offense got in a groove, scoring 12 points in five minutes. However, third-seeded Milton (19-9) had an answer on the other end. The Wolverines' biggest separation was by six points after ​Gray Smith scored in transition.

Damerell resumed his block party on Milton's baseline drive to give the offense the ball back. ​Derek Pepin tried to feed ​Lachlan Povenz on a cut but the pass was too fast for him to catch, resulting in a turnover.

Off an inbounds pass, Sam Maynard caught and shot the mid-range jumper for a buzzer-beater, as West Forsyth went into halftime with a 32-27 lead.

Fitzgerald got fouled while trying to put a shot up, which sent him to the free throw line. He left the charity stripe with the game tied at 32-32.

Despite that, Damerell scored in quickness for another lead change.

West Forsyth's good ball movement led to Halloran dishing it to Povenz for a triple. Then Damerell dribbled for a good shot selection and he grew the lead to 39-33.

Pepin forced a turnover while Milton was scanning the floor to pass, and Maynard finished the play by setting his feet before making a 3-pointer.

The Eagles started to apply more pressure on the Wolverines, and that aided them in scoring on back-to-back turnovers and cutting the Wolverines' lead to 42-40.

​Banks Willoughby passed to Smith for a corner 3 to begin the fourth quarter. On the other end, Fitzgerald used a spin post move for a basket, and then on the next Milton offensive possession, he did a replica and drew a foul.

The No. 5 seed Wolverines (11-17) picked the wrong time to go cold by not scoring in the final three minutes, and Milton got to their spots to get their shots to fall.

Jacob Tillman used a dribble move to act like he was going to the paint, but instead, he stopped and hit a mid-range shot to cut Milton's deficit to 54-50 with 27.7 seconds left.

After Milton got a quick basket to fall inside, like any other team, they full-court pressed West Forsyth. The Wolverines did a good job, draining the clock to 7.6 seconds before Halloran got fouled to stop the clock.

Halloran missed the free throw, but Maynard quickly grabbed the rebound. Milton fouled immediately, and Maynard's free throws were the dagger.

Povenz paced West Forsyth with four 3s and 18 points. Maynard posted 15 points and eight rebounds. Damerell added 10 points, seven boards, six blocks and four steals.