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Basketball: West girls shut down South in second half for third region win
West Forsyth's Cayla Cowart dribbles along the baseline with South Forsyth's Clara Morris guarding her on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Photo courtesy Jay Rooney Photography.

South Forsyth’s girls basketball team was predictably competitive for most of Tuesday’s game against West Forsyth, but in the end, the Wolverines’ defense buckled down late, allowing just eight points in the second half on the way to a 51-28 win.

With the victory, West improved to 15-1 overall and 3-0 in Region 5-7A play. South dropped to 13-5 overall and 1-2 in the region.

“I thought our defensive effort in the second half tonight was incredible,” West girls coach David May said. “That's a good team with some good players that can score the basketball. Our girls were physical. They did a nice job of playing together, communicating. I'm really proud of our effort in the second half defensively.”

The Wolverines certainly got off to a great start in the second half after coming out of the first with a slim 22-20 lead. Behind shots from Calie Thrower, Kalie Thrower and Cayla Cowart, West went on a 12-0 run to start the third period, and South was never able to put together a response, committing too many turnovers and not taking advantage of their chances.

“I think we just picked up our intensity a little bit,” May said. “I think we played a little bit smarter. The first half, we kind of got out of positions in quite a few places, didn't communicate as well.”

South Forsyth's Sharon Tolliver attempts a one-handed jumper against West Forsyth on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Photo courtesy Jay Rooney Photography.
Calie Thrower and Cowart finished their nights with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Thrower made her mark early with the game’s opening score, before immediately following that up with a three. After Kalie Thrower added a three of her own and Cowart scored her first points, West had begun the game with a 10-0 run.

South responded immediately, though, with Ashley Breindl and Ryane Williams helping to narrow the score to 13-6 by the end of the first quarter.

Williams continued to pace the War Eagles early in the second, but Cowart began to heat up, accounting for most of West’s offensive production leading up to the break. By halftime, South was very much in it down 22-20, but just couldn’t correct its mistakes.

“We missed a lot of layups, first half and second half,” South girls coach Keith Gravitt said. “We missed a lot of easy shots that should be high-percentage shots. Against a team that's ranked fourth in the state, you're two points down at halftime and you feel like you've got a shot. But you can't make turnovers and you've got to make those shots in the paint.

“Defensively, there were times where we weren't in great places, but we obviously can't win games scoring 28 points.”

The Wolverines are proving themselves to be a legitimate region title hopeful, even with games against tough opponents on their remaining schedule. While those games are important, May is making sure his team's eyes are also on what comes after that.

“We were just talking about this week,” May said. “We play these games and we want to keep getting better, but the games that will mean something are in February. That's when we really have to be locked in and zoned in.”