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Basketball: West girls beat South to clinch region's No. 2 spot
West Forsyth junior Jasmine Brown, right, tries to get around South Forsyth senior Ryane Williams on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. - photo by David Roberts

By Josh Holland

For the Forsyth County News

West Forsyth was clinging to a four-point lead over South with just over a minute left Friday, and the War Eagles were pushing the tempo offensively.

Junior Haylee Dornan stepped up and stole a pass, leading to a breakaway layup that allowed sophomore Calie Thrower to ice the game from the free-throw line, giving West a 62-57 win over South Forsyth in the final game of the regular season. 

Both teams struggled offensively in the opening minutes of the game, but South jumped out to an early 10-2 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. Thrower hit two threes late in the first quarter to bring the deficit down to five before the second quarter. 

South was able to maintain their lead until the half, but West surged in the third quarter to take the lead. South’s defensive pressure lacked and the Wolverine’s full-court press proved to be suffocating. 

In the fourth quarter, South started to come back on a couple occasions thanks to threes from freshmen Clara Morris and Maggie Thompson in the final minutes of the game, but West was able to take care of the ball and stay ahead.

Thrower led West on the offensive side of the floor, finishing the game with 22 points. She proved to be clutch from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter when South began to foul; she was 4-for-4 shooting from the line in the final minute of play. 

South Forsyth senior Kayla Casey tries to pass the ball with West Forsyth sophomore Calie Thrower guarding her on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. - photo by David Roberts
Both teams were without one of their best players, with West missing sophomore Cayla Cowart and South missing senior Ashley Breindl. That helped produce the stagnant first quarter, but both teams were able to adjust and had players step up in their absence.

South head coach Keith Gravitt was quick to praise his players’ performance in Breindl’s absence. 

“Our girls played hard. Obviously, she’s our leading scorer, but people picked up. Next man up and they got after it the whole game,” Gravitt said. “I’m so proud of our team, so I don’t want to look at that as a reason that we didn’t pull out the victory. Our girls played too hard to talk about what could have been.”

Gravitt also explained where he believes his team lost the game.

“We gave up a lot of drives down the middle. They got a lot of baskets driving down, particularly in the third quarter.” Adding that, “We just didn’t do a good job of helping on that. We gave them too many shots in the paint.”

West finishes the regular season 20-5 overall and 8-2 in Region 5-7A. South falls to 16-9 overall and 4-6 in the region. Both teams will compete in next week’s region tournament at Forsyth Central.