Kalie Thrower was feeling a little rebellious on Friday night.
With West Forsyth’s girls basketball team up by a razor-thin 47-44 edge with 39.4 seconds left against South Forsyth, the Wolverines went four out, hoping to pass the ball around to run out the clock. But when the ball landed in the hands of an uncovered Thrower in the corner beyond the three-point line, she couldn’t help herself.
“I wasn’t supposed to score,” she said. “No one was. But I was like, ‘Hey, I’m feeling it.’”
She let loose, turning the play into an unexpected risk. But then the shot splashed in to put the game out of reach for South. West head coach David May wasn’t going to argue with the play’s result, but he made sure to let Thrower know how fortunate she was.
“Coach was like, ‘You're lucky you made that,’ because I would've been dead for sure,” Kalie Thrower laughed.
Friday’s matchup was a very competitive game on both ends. West held a slim lead for most of it, but Thrower’s three helped cap off a fourth quarter that put it away, with the Wolverines taking a 56-48 victory. The win improved West’s Region 5-7A record to 7-3, officially securing the second seed in the upcoming region tournament. South, which ended its region slate at 5-5, will be the fourth seed.
“(South) has been playing really well lately,” May said. “They came out and played really hard. I thought our intensity was not as good as it needed to be for some of the night, but when it came to the fourth quarter, we made enough stops and did a good job offensively.”
The game went back and fourth from the start. South led 4-3 with 6:28 left in the period after and Ashley Breindl's shot, but thanks in part to plays from Calie Thrower and Kalie Thrower, the Wolverines went on a 9-0 run midway through the first, taking a 12-4 lead. The War Eagles quickly fought back, though, with Breindl getting two straight buckets to make it 15-12, followed by a buzzer-beating shot by Kayla Casey under the bucket that made it 17-14 at the end of the period.
Behind some good interior defense and shots from Breindl, Ryane Williams and Sara Stiers, the War Eagles tied the game at 25-25 with 1:12 left in the first half, but as it did for most of the game, the Wolverines stayed just ahead, leading 27-15 at the break.
As the game went on, West still led by a slim margin but began to step up in its rebounding, which helped limit South’s possessions and generated second chance points. West extended its lead to 36-31 midway through the third, before South crept back within striking distance.
“In a game like that that really came down to a couple of possessions, that's the difference when you can clean up those rebounds,” May said. “On the offensive glass on our end, we extended some possessions by crashing the boards hard.”
After its late-season run, West could be the most likely challenger to unseat North Forsyth in the upcoming region tournament. A game like Friday’s might have been a nice tune-up heading into that.
“It gives us a lot of confidence, I think,” Calie Thrower said. “We have a bye and we play on Wednesday. It gives us another day to practice harder.”
Kalie and Calie Thrower finished with 14 and 21 points for West, respectively. Breindl and Williams led South with 16 and 13.
West Forsyth boys 62, South Forsyth 55
West’s boys led for the majority of the game, but at the end of the third quarter, a buzzer-beating three tied it up at 43-43.South’s Jefferson Stepp gave his team a chance at a late three to tie it with a shot that made it 58-55 with 23.4 seconds to go. However, West’s Jack Bock and the rest of the Wolverines made more than enough free throws to keep themselves out of that scenario.
The Wolveines' Broc Bidwell led all scorers with 26 points. South's Devin McGlockton scored 21.
West ends its region slate 6-4, good enough for Region 5-7A’s third seed. South dropped to 4-6 with the loss.