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Basketball: Wolverines edge War Eagles in overtime
West Forsyth's Lachlan Povenz shoots a layup during a Region 6-7A matchup Friday at South Forsyth. (Photo by Nicholas Sullivan)

In a matchup between the past two Region 6-7A champions, the West Forsyth boys topped South Forsyth in overtime behind the late-game heroics of Sam Maynard and a strong first-half performance by Chase Damerell.

After Damerell racked up 15 of the Wolverines' 25 points in the opening half, Maynard took over the rest of the way. The junior buried a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter but came up particularly big at the free throw line.

Two foul shots by Maynard with 37.5 seconds left sent the game to overtime, and he drew a key charge in the extra session that helped reigning region champ West Forsyth close out the 53-50 win over 2020-21 winner South Forsyth.

“That charge that Sam Maynard took at the end was big for us,” Wolverines head coach Fredrick Hurt said. “That’s something we try to practice, and it was a key point in the game.

“And then Maynard hitting those free throws, and Chase Damerell had a huge game.”

Overall, Damerell racked up 24 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. The senior opened overtime by going 3-for-3 from the charity stripe after being fouled on an attempted corner 3.

However, it was the first two quarters that saw Damerell really shine.

A low-scoring opening period saw South Forsyth (2-6, 0-1) take a 9-6 advantage into the second quarter, and the War Eagles extended their lead to 15-8 soon after.

The game turned at that point, though, with the Wolverines (5-1, 1-0) executing a 17-3 run to close out the half. Damerell poured in 11 points in the stanza, allowing the visitors to hold a 25-18 halftime edge.

After scoring just four points in the first half, Maynard carried the offensive load the rest of the way for West Forsyth. Even still, the hosts managed to claw their way back.

“They are tough every year,” Hurt said of South Forsyth. “Coach [Scott] Givens does such a great job. They are tough in every aspect of it.”

The Wolverines took a 38-32 lead into the fourth quarter, but the War Eagles used an 8-0 run to jump back in front.

South Forsyth's Jackson Spitzer produced 8 of his team-high 13 points in the period that wound up going back and forth down the stretch.

Eventually, Maynard's two key free throws gave the game its first tie since 18-18 in the second quarter.

Following clutch foul shots by Damerell and a layup by Maynard for a 51-48 edge, Maynard stepped in front of a charging War Eagle to force a turnover on what otherwise would have been an and-1 opportunity.

Maynard followed that up with two more clutch freebies to cap his 19-point performance for a 53-48 lead before South Forsyth scored in the final seconds.

In total, the duo scored all of the Wolverines' points in overtime. It continued a recent trend for West Forsyth, which has seen its fairly inexperienced group step up in the wake of Will Moore's absence.

“We were expecting those two to be important parts of this team anyway,” Hurt said of Damerell and Maynard. “But they have even more of a role with Will out and not being able to play right now.”

While their second region game won't take place until Jan. 6, the Wolverines will hope Friday's contest serves as the thrilling start of another championship campaign.

“Region win on the road, that’s what we needed and that’s what we wanted,” Hurt said. “We’ll go from here.”